Malibu Seawolves Swim Toward Success at July Meets

Malibu Seawolves swimmers leap off their blocks at the meet in May.

Malibu Seawolves swimmers will dive in the pool at two separate swim competitions the second weekend of this month. 

Swimmers Kennan Hotchkiss, the reigning Tri-Valley League swimming MVP and rising Malibu High senior, and Marcel Hurtubise, a 2018 Malibu grad that will swim competitively in college, will swim at the July 12-15 Los Angeles Invite at the University of Southern California. A school of younger Seawolves will race in the pool at the July 14-15 Castaic Long Course Invitational at the Castaic Aquatic Center. 

Seawolves coach Max Jaben said he will coach Hotchkiss and Hurtubise, while Seawolves youth development coach Brad Ulbrich will lead the other team members.

Jaben said Hurtubise, a member of the Ventura College swimming and diving team next season, is training with the Seawolves this summer to prepare for the college pool. He said Hotchkiss will use the LA Invite as a chance to draw the attention of the college coaches that will be in the stands. 

“He will be wanting to sign with a college this coming fall,” Jaben noted. 

The two meets splash after a group of Seawolves swam impressively at the Junior Age Group (JAG) Championships last month. 

Hotchkiss and Hurtubise, along with younger Seawolves Ally Burke, Izzy Morriss, Filip Kurial, Flora Case and brother and sister Ranger and Tallula Murpree, swam to seven top-eight finishes at the multi-team event, while breaking 10 Seawolves’ records. 

Jaben said he knew the group was going to have an explosive outing in the pool this summer.

“The kids are coming into practice,” he said. “They are working hard, but having fun doing it. This is a really big deal for our team.”

Tallula is now the Seawolves’ record holder in six individual girls 10 & under events including the 50-meter freestyle, 50-meter breastroke, 100-meter freestyle, 100-meter backstroke, 100-meter breaststroke, and 200-meter IM. Ranger is the record holder in the boys 50-meter backstroke and 100-meter breaststroke. 

Tallula, Burke, Morriss and Case are the record holders in two girls 10 & under relay events the 200-meter freestyle and 200-meter medley relays.

Jaben said Tallula’s performance stood out. 

“She was involved in eight team records at one meet. She crushed it,” he said noting that Tallula and Ranger, two of three triplets on the Seawolves, aged out of the 10 & under category after JAG because of their recent birthday.

Jaben is excited to have young swimmers do well at big meets. 

“If we can keep things going in the right direction, the future of the team is going to be really strong,” he said. “Nothing has really compared to what our younger kids are doing now.” 

Three high school-aged swimmers represented the Seawolves at JAG last summer and tallied 29 points. The Seawolves racked up 136 points last month.

Jaben said he didn’t put much stock in the points the Seawolves accumulated at the event because, size-wise, the 50-member Malibu team paled in comparison to JAG’s top finishers—the Las Vegas Sandpipers and Rose Bowl Aquatics of Pasadena. Both groups accumulated more than 2,000 points thanks to the hundreds of youth swimmers in their ranks. 

Instead, Jaben focused on where the Seawolves finished in races. He noted that Hotchkiss was the lone swimmer in the eight-person boys 800-meter freestyle final that was not a Sandpiper. Jaben said in the girls 100-meter breastroke, Tallula finished third and Morriss finished sixth, while no swimmers from the Pasadena or Las Vegas teams made the final.

“The quality of what we are doing with how few swimmers we have is pretty amazing,” Malibu’s coach said. “We are being extremely competitive and it’s awesome.” 

Jaben said the younger Seawolves were focused on exceling at JAG, while for Hotchkiss it was a tune-up for the Los Angeles Invite. The event will feature college swimmers—including Hotchkiss’ older brother Logan, a swimmer at UCSB—and professional swimmers. 

Jaben said younger swimmers enjoy competing and having fun in the pool. He said they are following the footsteps of Kennan—who followed Logan’s footsteps. 

“They will finish their workouts and stand on the pool deck and watch Kennan go,” Jaben said. “They have the water bug. Kennan is so great with them. He will answer their questions and have fun with them.” 

Some Seawolves swam in the SLO Firecracker meet in San Luis Obispo last weekend. Kennan and Burke will swim at a Junior Olympics meet in Santa Maria from July 25-29.

The Seawolves will have open tryouts for new swimmers and registration for existing swimmers Aug. 27-28 at the Malibu High pool. The youth team’s fall season starts on Sept. 4.

Jaben said the summer is important for the Seawolves. 

“The kids that stay in the pool a little bit get ahead,” he said. “Come the fall it is evident who kept up with their training.”