The friendship and rivalry in the pool between Gregori High’s Andrew Britton and Ripon’s Ty Wells goes back to when they were 6 years old.
They’ve always competed against each other and when Wells joined Britton’s Ripon Aquatics club swim team when he was 12 years old, Britton and Wells became teammates.
“We’re lane buddies,” Britton said. “Every day we push each other in practice. Everything is a competition to see who can touch the wall first.”
The two juniors were back at it, but the stakes were high with a Sac-Joaquin Section championship on the line.
This time it was Britton finishing first to capture the 100-yard breaststroke title with a time of 54.94 seconds on Saturday at the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships at Tokay High.
Britton’s time earned him All-American consideration.
“I’ve been working for a time like that all season,” Britton said. “There’s been a lot of hours of training, working a lot of overtime. To get a time like that today is special.”
Wells finished in second place with a time of 55.95 seconds.
“We’re super good friends who compete at everything,” Britton said. “He’s better in the butterfly. He’s beat me in the breaststroke the past two years at sections so it was nice to finally beat him. We’re about the same in the freestyle.”
With top three finishes, both Britton and Wells qualified for the CIF State Meet next week at Clovis West High. Both were also double-qualifiers.
Britton finished fourth in the 200 individual medley, but his time of 1:52.36 is an automatic qualifier for the state meet.
Wells also finished third in the 100 butterfly with a time of 49.93 seconds.
“It feels great,” said Wells, who will be making his third appearance at state. “Even if I hadn’t finished top three I would have been happy with that time. Getting a 49 has been a dream of mine and today that dream came true.”
Downey senior Kyle White challenged himself this year at the section meet by going away from his strongest events in the sprints to compete in the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle. White finished eighth in the both events with a time of 52.70 in the butterfly and 1:43.95 in the 200 freestyle, respectively.
Other top finishes from Stanislaus District swimmers included:
Central Catholic’s Malia Fernandez finished fifth in the 100 freestyle (53.29) and ninth in the 50 freestyle (24.13).
Ripon’s Elizabeth Wenner placed 15th in the 50 freestyle (24.84) and 13th in the 100 freestyle (54.89).
Ripon’s Mallory Brubaker finished sixth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:05.54.
Turlock’s Trent Yandell placed 15th in the 50 freestyle (22.36).
Buhach Colony’s Gwynne McBride finished 14th in the 100 breaststroke by breaking her own school record with a time of 1:08.70.
Atwater’s Connor Norton placed sixth in the 100 freestyle (47.48) and seventh in the 50 freestyle (21.69).
“My goal coming in was just to make the finals,” Norton said. “I knew there was going to be a lot of fast guys so I’m proud of my accomplishments. Maybe next year I can shoot for a bigger goal like state.”