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Dolphins swimmer numbers swell
The Ceres Dolphins experienced a significant drop in enrollment last summer.

The recreational swim organization's membership has grown five-fold since then.

"We had 35 swimmers at our first meet (in 2009)," Dolphins head coach Tracy Bull said. "Normally, it's about 90. I was worried at that time. I knew we'd be okay but I didn't think we'd rebound as fast as we did. We're drawing huge numbers. I could not be happier."

Approximately 180 boys and girls, ages 3-18, signed up for this year's team.

Members practice five days a week at Ceres High School.

A total of eight meets will be staged during the course of the season, including the year-end Mid Valley Swim League championships.

"By far, that's the biggest team we've ever had," said Bull, who joined the Dolphins five years ago and became head coach in 2007. "We challenged the kids to recruit from their neighborhood. We want to get more people involved in swimming. We're not worried about winning. We try to focus on improvement."

Ceres has five assistant coaches: Ryan Calou, Montana Bull, Cierra Alvear, Tyler Padilla and Steve Padilla.

Older swimmers Megan Braverman, Katy Gaede, Billy Gonzalez, Tori Gunzenhauser, Paige Hensley, Genaro Hernandez and Anna Polovin are a part of the organization's mentor-coach program.

The Dolphins' 15-to-16-year-old girls age group is loaded with talent and depth. Gunzenhauser, Braverman, Montana Bull, Cierra Alvear, Savanna Alvear, Cassandra Guevara, Megan Valenzuela and Maureen Serna have a wealth of experience.

"It's been a joy to see them grow together," coach Bull said. "They're the backbone of the team. They're dominant."

Mike Braverman (president), Steve Gunzenhauser (vice president), Mike Zizzo (secretary), Lynn Bull (league representative), Natalie Esterman (registrar) and Justin Shinn (historian) make up Ceres' executive board.

The Dolphins opened the 2010 season with a third-place finish at the Tracy Invitational, held May 29-30 in Manteca.

The majority of Ceres' swimmers wore personalized swim suits and official team caps.

"We have a great collection of kids and parents," Tracy Bull said. "We're going to see our numbers grow. It's really exciting."

For more information, visit the organization's new web site at