Jumping into the national ranks and out of the swimming pool, Teia Salvino and Luke Bezanilla of Paseo Aquatics Club burst onto the scene after turning some heads at the 2018 Novaquatics Speedo Grand Challenge at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center Pool in Irvine May 25 through 27.
Competing in the 11-12 age group both swimmers swam in seven events apiece and the two are now slotted among the top 10 swimmers in the nation.
Placing second in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 27.50 and in the 50-meter butterfly with a time of 29.63 at the Grand Challenge, Salvino is now ranked second and fourth, respectively, in the nation.
“It makes me feel good,” Salvino said. “I like this feeling, but I want to win next time. I got out-touched at the end so at the next meet I’m going to try and be first.”
Slightly getting out-touched by .27 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle, Salvino has made it a point to try improve her ranking and practice harder to win the event in the upcoming competition.
“I kind of wanted to beat everyone and try to get that No. 1 ranking in the nation,” Salvino said.
But Salvino was able to “out touch” someone that she will probably never get the chance to swim against.
Breaking the 50-meter butterfly record that was held for almost 25 years by Jennifer Parmenter of Canyon Aquatics, Salvino beat Parmenter’s time (30.15) by more than half a second to add to her impressive outing.
“We still have to do so much,” Paseo Silver Group coach Daiki Sato said. “We have gotten far, but we still have to work on consistency and growing or getting stronger. The speed is there. They just need a little more power, but as they get older I’m confident that all of it will come.”
Bezanilla had an equally impressive showing on the boys side as he finished second in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 27.73 and second in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1.15.67.
“I got second in mostly everything because of this kid, but I’m friends with him,” Bezanilla said. “I feel like I need to work on my stroke and technique and how fast I go in keeping my pace steady.”
Pushing himself with every competition, Bezanilla’s work ethic and drive correlate to some impressive feats.
Entering the 100-meter breaststroke ranked 78th nationally and posting the second-best time, by the end of the meet Bezanilla was ranked fifth after dropping a whopping 6.3 seconds off his time.
“It means that my work has paid off and I’m actually doing something right,” Bezanilla said. “My coach had been a really great influence for me over the past six months.”
The two swimmers will have plenty of opportunities over the next couple weeks to improve their standing as they will compete in a couple big meets.
Salvino will compete in the Los Angeles Invite, which will take place July 12-15 at Uytengsu Aquatics Center on the University of California’s campus in Los Angeles and Sectionals which will be held on July 19-22 at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center.
Bezanilla will compete at the June Age Group or “JAG” Swim Meet which will be held June 14-17 at Ventura Park Aquatics Center in Ventura and then at Junior Olympics July 25-29 at the Riverside Aquatics Complex in Riverside.
“First and foremost, they put in the work,” Sato said. “They put in all this work. We work in the water. We work outside the water. I think team camaraderie is very important and we are a really tight-knit group.”