Chris Vonk Medal Winners

The Nadadores Win Big at Chris Vonk

The Mission Viejo Nadadores set records and racked up some serious hardware over the first two weekends in December at this year’s Chris Vonk Invitational. Always regarded as one of Southern California’s biggest diving invitationals, USA Diving’s online scoring system, divemeets, recorded over four thousand dives from over 250 divers attending the event.

Todd Mulzet, the Nadadores’ Associate Head Coach, felt great about the JO event and said, “Across the board very good diving from all the Nadadores.” He continued enthusiastically, “Lots of personal bests for the kids which is very promising considering our annual periodization plan only had us doing optional dives the last four weeks. Even divers who have been out of the pool due to personal reasons had great moments this weekend. Super proud of everyone, and the number of personal bests is a testament to their training and dedication the kids are putting in. Meet quality overall was excellent, and even the weather was spectacular with just a bit nippy each morning giving way to warm, sunny afternoons!”

During the JO weekend, the Nadadores won ten gold medals from five different outstanding divers: Callie Fox, Gianna Kenrick, Nacho San Jose, Adriana Dovidio, and Sawyer Watts. Watts in particular had a clean sweep with first place finishes in all three individual events: 1m and 3m springboard, and platform. Four silver medals came from three different stellar Nadadores: Kyla Larson, Zaid Nazif, and Valentino Nieto. And to wrap up the podium, twelve bronze medals were awarded to eleven fantastic divers: Savannah Watts, Zaid Nazif, Alex Cochran, Giana Kenrick, Cody Jurick, Terrance Wang, Valentino Nieto, London Smith, Matthew Strychaz, Nacho San Jose, and Max Trovillion. 

Lauren Thiel-Lopez, “Lo,” the Nadadores’ Elite Team Assistant Coach and the Chris Vonk Invitational Meet Director, was pleased with both the diving and the event operations. She said, “Overall, I’m very happy with both the performances at the meet, and the running of the meet in general.” She continued complimenting the team’s strategy, “As we’ve been focused on a long term progression approach, many divers were able to produce personal best performances even while competing lower level of difficulty skill dives. This has just further demonstrated that the work is paying off and we’re all ready to keep progressing forward throughout the rest of this season.”

Personal records were set from Nadadores in all levels of the team programming, from beginners to experienced National Champions. PRs were set by forty-one incredible divers: Kasey Livingston, Charlie Lantrip, Parker Boggs, Sawyer Watts, London Smith, Alana Harp, Aya Ali, Julianne Newton, Kinley May, Tyler Mark, Mahika Maitra, Paloma Arroyo, Nicholas Corona, Cash Kleindienst, Cody Jurick, David Liu, Matthew Strychaz, Maddy Raphael, Adriana Dovidio, Nacho San Jose, Gianna Kenrick, Keira Kuderka, Cam Craycraft, Lauren Kudo, Olivia O’Brien, Valentino Nieto, Tommy Matheis, Kaitlyn Jack, Emma Peralman, Claire Nelson, Sophia Ali, Leila Adams, Mattea Kent, Coco Rainey, Kayla Keoveunxay, Samantha Whitton, Makenna Milne, Zaid Nazif, Natalie Kim, Terrance Wang, Ashley Lanak, and Callie Fox.

The second weekend of December hosted the novice events of the Invitational, and the Nadadores doubled up on impressive performances to close out the competition. With sixty-five total medals, the Nadadores won both the men’s and women’s team championships, and the overall team champion title. Gold medals came from outstanding performances by: Alex Cochran, Bailey Valenzona, Charlie Lantrip, Charlotte Moorefield, Cody Jurick, Cole Gerstner, Connor Mees, Emily Tennant, Emmeline Chen, Eric Xu, Mahika Maitra, Mathew Strychaz, Natalia Avendano, Oliver Gresko, Olivia Zhang, Terrance Wang, Emmeline Chen, Sawyer Watts, and Haley Hess. Silver medals were awarded to fantastic diving by: Alex Cochran, Allie Dovidio, Allison Jung, Christopher Jin, Cole Gerstner, Genna Raphael, Harper Weidner, Madeleine Raphael, Madi Jack, Mason Hutchings, Mathew Strychaz, Morgan Pixley, Oliver Gresko, Sophie Mansoury, Terrance Wang, Tyler Mark, Will Brewer, Jules Newton, Emma Pearlman, and Alana Harp. Closing out the podium performances, bronze medals were awarded to awesome diving by: Allison Jung, Arianna Lopez, Charlotte Bozinovski, Chase Tapper, Connor Mees, Emma Burris, Kasey Livingston, Kinley May, Morgan Pixley, Morgan Pixley, Nicholas Corona, Sera Park, Tom Wilson, Will Brewer, Aya Ali, Sophia Ali, and Olivia Zhang.

Liz Sanchez, the Nadadores’ Director of Developmental Diving, was impressed with the divers’ performances and happy with the energy throughout the whole weekend, saying, “There were great performances from all our divers, and the synchronized events were a freaking blast!” She continued complimenting the athletes’ skills and attitudes, “So many laughs and some seriously good synchro. Such a fun way to close out the event.”

While the Nadadores experience shone bright on the podium, there were also seventeen, first-ever competitors that also did a great job: Aiden Joshi, Allie Dovidio, Arianna Bryant, Chris Jin, Clara Bennett, Emily Tennant, Gigi Chin, India Lessard, Isabella Walmsley, Lauren Tennant, Lily Hoffer, Mia Brooks, Mischa Joshi, Shiley Abrams, Sierra Farkas, Sydnie Park, and Winter Cena.

A true success on all fronts, the coaches, divers, officials, and parents were all pleased with a fun and eventful two weekends of diving creating lifelong memories. Lo expressed her gratitude for all the excellent assistance she had in running such a great invitational, saying, “As for meet management, we are so thankful for all the help we receive from both Dan Badstubner and our SPA Neutral Judges in the running of the computers and scoring systems, and the judges for their officiating of events. Without all our amazing parent-volunteers, staff, and meet management personnel, we wouldn’t be able to run these great events! So, thank you to all involved in running a quality event.”