Willowdale continues to dominate in the boys 11–12 relay events at Cherry Bowl

For the second consecutive year, Willowdale set new Cherry Bowl records in both the boys 11–12 medley relay and freestyle relay events.

Alex Crumpton, Jack Kramer, Ryan Cortes and Josh Seidman were dominant in the boys 11–12 relay events at last Saturday’s Cherry Bowl.

In the last two Cherry Bowls, Willowdale Swim Club has dominated the boys 11–12-year-old relay events.

In 2016, Willowdale won both the boys 11–12 200-meter medley relay and the 200-meter freestyle relay, setting new Cherry Bowl records in the process.

This year, Willowdale’s boys 11–12 relay team managed to top its achievements from 2016. The Dolphins again raced their way to victory in the boys 11–12 medley and freestyle relay events, breaking the records the team had set in both events the previous year.

The new records were a little bit of a surprise for the team of Alex Crumpton, Jack Kramer, Ryan Cortes and Josh Seidman. While the four knew they had a shot to break the freestyle relay record based on their times from earlier in the season, they didn’t expect to set the medley relay record.

“We thought it was going to stand for awhile,” Cortes said about the record.

This year’s relay team included two swimmers from the 2016 record-setting squad. Cortes and Seidman were both 11 years old when they helped Willowdale set the 2016 records and swam again on the team this year as 12 year olds.

This year, Crumpton and Kramer joined Cortes and Seidman as the newest members of the relay team. Cortes was confident when he saw how good his new relay teammates were in the pool.

“I knew all of these people,” Cortes said. “I knew (Alex was a breaststroker) and I knew (Jack) was a freestyler, (Josh) was a backstroker and I was pretty good on fly, so I thought it was the perfect relay.”

In the medley relay, each of the four swimmers has to swim a different stroke. Crumpton swam the breaststroke for Willowdale, Cortes swam the butterfly, Seidman swam the backstroke, and Kramer swam freestyle.

In addition to each of the athletes perfecting his part of the event, they also had to practice transitions. A relay team in swimming can be disqualified if one swimmer jumps into the pool before the previous swimmer finishes his lap.

“We’re trying to be safe,” Kramer said. “We’re not trying to be cute.”

Precise transitions and solid technique have been key to the Dolphins’ success this season. The boys’ 11–12 relay team has dominated the competition all summer, recording the top times of the Tri-County Swimming Pool Association regular season in both the medley and freestyle relays.

“In preseason we worked a bit harder,” Seidman said. “Each and every time the practices got harder so we worked a bit harder. We also practiced our technique a bit more.”

The team had big expectations entering Cherry Bowl and was determined to set a new record in the boys 11–12 200-meter freestyle relay after clocking in at a TCSPA-best 2:01.06 the previous week in a dual meet against Fox Hollow Swim Club. The Dolphins managed to smash their old Cherry Bowl record of 2:01.30, becoming the first team to record a time of less than two minutes in the event with a time of 1:57.97.

However, the biggest surprise came earlier in the meet in the medley relay, where Willowdale beat its previous season-best time by seven seconds to set a new Cherry Bowl record of 2:11.18. All four swimmers swam a season-best leg in their portion of the race.

“I saw Josh jumping up and down and I realized we’re close,” Kramer said after touching the wall to finish the race. “Then I looked at the scoreboard and saw the time and was so happy.”

“When he finished, I just started celebrating,” Crumpton added.

“Our coach said we could do it,” Cortes said about the medley relay record. “I was like, ‘I don’t think so.’ But we did it.”

In addition to winning both relays, the three of the four Willowdale relay swimmers won their respective individual event. Seidman set a new Cherry Bowl record in the boys 11–12 50-meter backstroke with a time of 30.30 seconds, Crumpton won the boys 11–12 50-meter breaststroke with a time of 38.37 seconds and Cortes won the boys 11–12 50-meter butterfly in 30.59 seconds.

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