For the Sunnyside Sharks, last night's Mid-Valley Summer Swim League opening meet against the visiting Prosser Piranhas couldn't have been much closer.
But thanks to a strong performance in the 200-meter individual medley, where Sunnyside outscored the Piranhas by a 66-50 margin, and a 45-35 advantage in the two relay events, the Sharks managed to pull out a 395-385 victory.
As was the pattern last season, it was Sunnyside's girls who made the difference last night. Of the 26 individual girls races staged Thursday evening, the Sharks chalked up 17 first place finishes. Five of those 17 victories came from petite Brittany Broersma, who swept the girls 10&U events. Broersma, too, was on the two winning girls 10&U relay squads, which gave her a total of seven victories last night.
Broersma was never seriously challenged in any of the races in which she competed. The closest anyone came to her was in the 50-meter butterfly, when she slapped the wall a full 4.3 seconds ahead of Prosser's Makensie Forsyth. The Prosser swimmer also finished second to Broersma in the 50-backstroke and 200-IM, clocking in 8.38 seconds and more than 44 seconds behind the mighty mite Shark in the two races, respectively. In the 50-breaststroke Broersma was a full 9.85 seconds ahead of the runner-up Gabby Villarreal of Prosser, and was 5.86 seconds faster than second place finishing Karlie Lusk of Prosser in the 50-freestyle.
The Sunnyside girls were also well represented by Katie Knee and Toni Marie Castillo last night.
Knee, a 16&U competitor, won four of the five individual races in her age division, and helped the Sharks to two wins in the relay events.
Castillo was victorious in three of the five individual girls 12&U races, claiming second place finishes in the other two. She also helped the girls 12&U squad pull out a victory in the 200-meter medley relay race.
Sunnyside's 8&U girls competitors also came through big last night. Heidi Vergara won two of the four races in that age division and also grabbed a second place finish. Sharks teammate Sara Hollander was a two-time winner, as well, in that age division, and fellow teammate Summer Hazzard notched three runner-up finishes at 8&U.
The one other Sunnyside girl who opened the 2006 season in fine fashion was 16&U swimmer Kaitlyn Broersma. She secured a win in the 50-meter breaststroke race, clipping her teammate Knee by 1.07 seconds for the victory. Broersma, too, piled up three second place finishes and was on both of the winning girls 16&U relay teams.
Prosser's standout in last night's girls races was 14&U swimmer McKenna Elliott. She won four of the five individual races in her age division, with teammate BreAnna Beierle knocking down the win in the other event-the 50-meter breaststroke. The lone challenger to Elliott and Beierle was Sunnyside's Alissa Martin, who finished second in all five individual races.
On the boys side, Sunnyside found the most success in the 12&U and 14&U events.
Cristian Vargas powered the Sharks to four individual race victories at 12&U, accounting for three of the wins. He also scored a second place finish, and was on the winning 200-meter individual medley relay squad for his age division. Teammate Tim Stiteler also scored a boys 12&U victory and racked up two second place finishes, as well as swimming on the winning IM relay squad.
In the boys 14&U events, Sunnyside's Jacob Hollander proved to be the swimmer to beat. He was victorious in four of the five individual races and notched a pair of relay wins, as well.
The Sunnyside boys also got wins from Tad Tyhuis in the 10&U 50-backstroke, Alexander Henry in the 16&U 200-IM and David Knee in the 18&U 50-breaststroke.
Sunnyside is scheduled to swim against the Dolphins at Selah next Tuesday, and will host the Toppenish Tarpons on Thursday of next week.