By Mike McIntee
SACRAMENTO — The El Dorado Hills Tasmanian Devils swam with determination against their archrivals from Park Terrace Saturday, but ultimately could not overcome a strong and deep Penguins team.
The Taz fell to the Penguins 532-365 to suffer its first defeat of the season. Both clubs entered the Suburban Swim League’s marquee matchup with identical 5-0 records.
“Our kids swam very fast today,” said head coach Jason Brown. “The score doesn’t really indicate how close the meet was. So many races were decided by a few hundredths here, a tenth or two there. The racing was tight all day. We’ve still got room for improvement as a team, but overall, I’m pleased with the performance.”
The Devils were led by standouts Morgan Jones and Annie Harriman. Jones broke the 56 second barrier in setting a new league mark in the 13-14 girls 100-yard freestyle. Jones, who also set the league mark in the 11-12 age group a year ago, touched the wall in 55.99, lowering the previous record of 56.03 set last July by Morgan McClure of College Greens. Jones shattered the club record of 56.45 set by Taz great Suzanne Sudman in 1997. Jones now holds or shares 12 Taz records.
Taz star Annie Harriman, 17, won the 17-18 women’s 100-yard backstroke in 1:05.03. Harriman’s time lowered the 15-year old mark set by Taz legend Jenny Baracco in July 1996 of 1:05.63. Harriman now holds the club records in the 100 backstroke in the 15-16 and 17-18 age groups.
“I’m really happy for Annie,” said Brown. “She’s been working back from a severe ankle injury earlier this year. She’s a champion, and its great to see her getting back to form. She’s going to have a great champs.”
Chris Sanborn, 13, led all swimmers with 21 points. Hannah Bensman, 17, led all women with 18 points. Shannon Kiss, 16, and Jones swept their events for 15 points each. Jack Peterson, 10, had 15 points in the 9-10 boys group. Valencia led all 9-10 girls with 13 points.
The Taz delivered a strong statement to the Penguins right from the start. Peyton Valencia, Chloe King and Emma Mehl swept Event 1, the 9-10 girls 100-yard IM. Valencia, 10, touched the wall in 1:26.52. Patrick McIntee, 10, won the boys event in 1:26.24 to stake the Taz to an early 14-4 lead. The Taz finished the IM series even with the Penguins at 45-45.
But Park Terrace’s depth slowly began to tell as the day wore on. Park Terrace pushed out to a 119-92 edge in the Medley Relay series. The Penguins blew the meet open in the short free series, leading 211-126 after event 35.
EDH ends its regular season next weekend at the Broadsone Barracudas. Park Terrace will attempt to complete a perfect regular season on Saturday at the Sierra Sharks in Cameron Park. EDH and Park Terrace will face off again in the 46th SSL Championships, July 29-31, at Sierra College in Rocklin.