San Benito Aquatics and Hollister High School hosted more than 650 swimmers from throughout northern California and Nevada this past weekend for the 2022 Pacific Swimming Summer Junior Olympics.
The competition took place at the school’s swimming facilities July 8-10. Among the competitors were two local young SBA swimmers who represented Hollister: Mateo Rosales, 13, and Leila Day, 11, according to SBA President Jennifer Lee. Rosales qualified for the Far Western Championships by taking 7th place in the 100-meter freestyle at the Junior Olympics. He recorded his personal record best time in the local competition.
Day came in 7th place in the 100-meter freestyle and 8th place in the 50-meter freestyle at the Junior Olympics, Lee said. “She had all her teammates cheering her on, showing the rest of the fans what it means to be a team,” Lee said. “We are so proud of our SBA swimmers.”
The three-day Pacific Swimming Junior Olympics event was notable not only for the caliber and vastness of the competitive field, with more than 650 swimmers participating from Reno, Petaluma, Santa Clara, Monterey, Livermore, San Francisco and beyond. It was also remarkable for the business and exposure it brought to Hollister and surrounding communities, Lee said. Hundreds of swimmers and their families, as well as event staff and volunteers, accounted for more than 3,000 people per day visiting the Baler Aquatic Center during the event.
“We are really excited to bring a meet of this caliber to our community of Hollister,” Lee said. “The hotels were booked and sold out since February, forcing swimmers (and families) to lodge in Salinas and Gilroy… Local restaurants were bursting at their seams all weekend.”
SBA is led by Head Coach Michael Fujii, a former champion level swimmer with 22 years of experience coaching all levels—from youth swimmers to Olympic trials athletes, Lee said. Fujii joined SBA just over two years ago, bringing a wealth of experience and a strong desire to expose local swimmers to higher levels of competition.
“In two very short years, I’ve seen a huge shift in culture and dedication of the swimmers and the parents of the team,” Fujii said. “The sky is the limit for San Benito Aquatics; we are on our way.”
The San Benito Aquatics Swim Club offers training and practice for youth swimmers of all ages and abilities, says the club’s website. The club practices daily at the Baler Aquatic Center at Hollister High School.
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