Athletic Excellence

Dhahran Youth Swim League team takes national team title

The Dolphins dominated their competition and set several national marks at the Riyadh meet.

Dhahran Youth Swim League team takes national team title

The Dhahran Youth Swim League (DYSL) Dolphins made history by winning the Overall Team Championship at the 2023 Arabian Falcons Swimming Association (AFSA) Saudi Arabian Swimming Championships, which was held in Riyadh on June 9 and 10. 


AFSA is the swimming governing body for International Schools and organizations in Saudi Arabia. 


This was the first AFSA national championships held since 2019, due to the pandemic, and it attracted 22 clubs from across the Kingdom and more than 300 nationally qualified swimmers, including 42 swimmers from DYSL. 


The high quality, well-organized championships provided talented swimmers the opportunity to compete with the best across the nation, with the Riyadh Swim League and Al Bustan hosting this meet and continuing tradition at their top-notch facilities.


With friendly and helpful volunteers, the event ran smoothly, and the teams felt well-supported throughout the weekend.


Building on excellence

Building on the recent successes at the Eastern Province Regional Championships, the DYSL Dolphins dominated the competition, coming away with 877 points overall in contrast to the second-place team, which finished with 652. 


The Dolphins won 78 individual medals (33 Gold, 26 Silver, and 19 Bronze) and relay medals, breaking several national records and achieving personal bests in over half of the swims.


Other significant achievements include Alex Saunders breaking the National record in the Boy’s 7-8 year-old 200 meter Freestyle, while two other DYSL swimmers, Daniel Del Carmen-Ju and Eduardo Del Carmen-Ju, led the Eastern team to set a national record in the men’s 15-18 200 meter Freestyle Relay.  


The Dolphins were led by coaches Mark Allen, Saeed Magdy, and Yassine Naouar, who brought expertise and enthusiasm to the pool, and excellence to the training throughout the season.

Post-pandemic success

These remarkable achievements were not a chance success, but rather the result of significant effort by the DYSL Board and coaches to rebuild the team after the challenges posed by the pandemic. 


The efforts began during the previous season with a concerted effort to rebuild the coaching staff and training program. With strong support from Aramco’s Community Services, the team gained full-time coaches who provided consistent and quality coaching to the swimmers, which was in addition to the DYSL parent volunteers who contributed thousands of hours to the success of the team this past season.


During the season, special camps were conducted by coaches from the U.K., the U.S., and Canada, providing additional opportunities for DYSL swimmers to help develop their technical skills through video stroke analysis and other coaching techniques. Skill development for the youngest swimmers was a priority to help with the next generation through targeted clinics. 

The regular team group practice was also enhanced with a new schedule for the season and activities like strength and flexibility exercises outside the pool.


With the clinics and regular competition, including the Aramco Community Championships in March, and Regional Championships in May, DYSL swimmers were able to accelerate and support their development. 


The DYSL Dolphins are proud of their achievements and grateful for their hard work, dedication, and sportsmanship. In the past season, the swimmers have individually spent hundreds of hours training toward accomplishing their personal goals while having fun in a healthy and supportive environment.


Individual top finishers from DYSL by age group are:


Girls                                                                Boys 

7 – 8:      Sarai Valbuena – 2nd                  Alex Saunders – 1st 

9 – 10:    Arianna Oshinowo – 2nd             Santiago Valbuena – 1st 

  Lina Knowles – 6th                        Elias Aronsson – 2nd 

11 – 12: Bea Bethune – 4th                         Elliot Aronsson – 5th 

  Charlotte Fischer – 6th 

13 – 14: Hannah Fischer – 3rd 

  Mira Knowles – 4th 

15 – 16:                                                          Daniel Del Carmen-Ju – 2nd 

17 – 18:                                                          Eduardo Del Carmen-Ju – 5th 




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