By Lanre Oshinowo and Don Saunders
Fast times, personal bests, and even a national record featured in first regional championships since COVID-19.
The best swimmers from nine squads competed last weekend in the 2023 Eastern Province Swimming Association (EPSA) Championships, which was hosted by the Dhahran Youth Swim League (DYSL) swim team.
DYSL won top team honors, with the Khobar Lasers earning second and the Blue Marlins coming in third.
The teams in the EPSA are the DYSL Dolphins, Ras Tanura Swim Club Razorfish, Abqaiq Stingrays, ‘Udhaliyah Orcas, Khobar Eagles, Khobar Lasers, Blue Marlins, Team Typhoons, and the New Wave.
First Regional Championships Since COVID-19
This was the first Regional Championships in Dhahran since before the pandemic, attracting 900 attendees each day. Almost 200 swimmers swam 988 entries in 173 heats from 159 events with swimmers impressively achieving personal bests in 74% of events.
There were many outstanding swims, including:
- 57% of the swims exceeded the time standards
- 25% were National Qualifying Times
- One national record fell.
Alex Saunders broke the Saudi national record with his performance in the 50 meter backstroke.
The Dhahran Youth Swim League team took top honors at the regional meet, which it hosted.
A Resounding Success
The event was a resounding success thanks to the hard work, dedication, and meticulous planning of DYSL, with the support of Aramco and its Recreation and Community Services support.
The organization ensured a fair, accommodating and professional setup for the sake of the swimmers. All timers, judges and officials were clearly mandated and supported to ensure fairness, efficiency, and professionalism.
Participating teams appreciated the event’s organization and execution, and also praised the hospitality and warm welcome they received.
The collaboration between the teams fostered healthy competition and strengthened the bonds within the EPSA swimming community, and the coaches’ engagement proved critical in raising enthusiasm and expertise of all involved.
A Shout Out to The Parents and Volunteers
This event would not have been possible without the parents who support their children in pursuing their passion for swimming, as well as the volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure everything ran smoothly and safely. That includes meet referee Henry Shim, who led the officiating; the officials team led by Don Saunders; Eduardo Del Carmen for the technical and all-round support; Saadia Mohammed for organizing the opening and closing ceremonies with her team of volunteers; Mervin Tanguines for his professional support from Recreation; the Lifeguard team for the pool area setup; Industrial Security for facilitating the gate access and security at the site; Community Services Concessions for the food trucks; and the SDG team for their instrumental support in facilitating all the team requests.
We thank Aramco for supporting swimming in the Kingdom.
The top six swimmers in each age group are listed below. Congratulations to all!
6 & under Girls
2. Jeeda Alsadka, 4. Sofie Alomari
6 & under Boys
3. Theo Fischer, 4. Prayaan Punetha, 6. Zaki Ezzat
1. Sarai Valbuena, 2. Nora Irshad
1. Alex Saunders, 2. Faris Alrehaimi, 3. Ronan Donnelly, 5. Alex Bassett
1. Arianna Oshinowo, 2. Lauren Huynh, 3. Valentina Guerra, 4. Lina Knowles, 6. Christine Vlassenko
1. Santiago Valbuena, 2. Elias Aronsson, 3. Ahmad Malik, 5. Daniel Irshad
1. Bea Bethune, 2. Charlotte Fischer, 4. Emma Vaartjes, 5. Hattie Stephenson
1. Elliot Aronsson, 2. Lucas McLaughlin, 4. Malek Jandali, 5. Vihaan Punetha, 6. Maximus Pragale
1. Hannah Fischer, 2. Mira Knowles, 3. Omolola Akinsanmi, 4. Alexa Plaatjes, 6. Alysha Mahmood
1. Maxwell McLauhghlin
1. Daniel Del Carmen-Ju, 2. Hassan Eldeeb, 6. Zac Stephenson
1. Eddya Del Carmen-Ju
— The Arabian Sun: May 28, 2023