In the competitive world of youth swimming, one of the highest achievements for age-group swimmers is the Junior Olympic Championships, which are held a few times each year in multiple locations across the country.
Last month, three Valley athletes represented the local USA swimming club, the Sonoma Sea Dragons, battled some of the best swimmers in the Pacific region at the prestigious Pacific Swimming Junior Olympic Championships in California High School’s Olympic-sized pool in San Ramon.
The large Pacific Swimming organization spans Northern California on the coast from San Mateo in the south to Humboldt in the north, and east to include the Central Valley and the Reno/Tahoe area.
By achieving qualifying times, racing throughout the year in meets within the Pacific Zone, Sea Dragon standouts Hannah Ladouceur, 14, and Maya Grajczyk, 12, earned their return to the Junior Olympic Championships along with teammate Sophia Obbagy, 10,
who accomplished the difficult task of making the finals.
With the top-16 fastest times in an individual event reaching the championship finals, Obbagy swam a personal-best time of 1 minute, 19.08 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly preliminaries to take the 16th and final qualifying spot in the 9-to-10-year-old girl’s age-group event.
Then, in the consolation final, Obbagy out-paced three of the competitors who edged her earlier in the day. She finished in fifthplace, and 13th overall, in the event.
“We’re so proud of all three girls and were thrilled when we realized we had sent a swimmer into the finals,” said new Sea Dragon coach Keith Ryan. “Sophia (Obbagy) swam a near perfect race with the poise of a seasoned veteran.”
For more information about the Sonoma Aquatic Center and the Sea Dragons visit sonomaaquaticclub.com, sonomaseadragons.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org. or call 939-8833.