Piranhas progress in the pool the winter long



The Darien YMCA Piranhas swim team is racking up plenty of wins in the midst of its winter season and finding much enjoyment along the way.

The 140 member Piranhas, ranging in age from 6-18, compete in YMCA dual meets and CT USA Swimming meets several times each month, from Oct. through April, and then again from May through Aug.

With practices offered six days a week for swimmers ages nine and over (and four times a week for ages eight-and-under), the Piranhas have practice time to train and learn the skills that will help them succeed both in and out of the pool.

The 2012-13 Piranhas have raced throughout Conn. (in Greenwich, New Haven, Branford, and Wilton) with the older swimmers also competing as far away as North Carolina with great success.

This year’s Piranhas has had each swimmer improve greatly since the beginning of the season.

For the 12/under age group, the season began in Oct. at the GRYM Invite, where top six performances were turned in by Kyle Lumsden, Oliver Rus, John Barsanti and Connor Zielinski. Next up was the 8/under Quadrathon at the Darien Y where Tam-Hao Nguyen, Andrew Banks and Sriram Pankanti all placed 2nd in high point honors in their respective age groups.

The Wilton Thanksgiving Invitational was the next meet for the Piranhas, with top 12 finishes for Lumsden, Jennifer Chen, Halle Spataro, and Grant Goodrick. A dual meet with Wilton Y in December saw Nguyen, Max Scalise, Ned Smith and Alexandra Van Dijkum all take their place atop the winner’s podium, and top six finishes turned in by Grace Spataro, Catherine Dwyer, Banks, Matthew Reynolds, Ben Van Steen, Bella Bohnsack, Lindsey Fay, Sophie Hill, Sophia Perkins, Bridget Ritchie, Halle Spataro, Ivey Gehring, Drew Maj or, Will Prendergast, Charlotte Gehring and Nolan Lovegrove. The winning continued at the Branford Stingray Invitational as Barsanti won an event, and Halle Spataro, Kelsey Olvany, Lumsden, Lovegrove and Jeff McKee all scored points in the top six.

The Piranhas finished 2012 off with a dual meet with New Canaan Y, where event winners Caroline Haddad, Lumsden, Barsanti, Reynolds, Scalise, Halle and Grace Spataro all swam well, followed by top three finishes by Chen, McKee, Ali Funkey, Nick Giotis, Van Dijkum and Connor Zielinski.

The Piranhas began 2013 ready to race at the WAC Invite in New Haven.

Led by event winner Lumsden, the Piranhas also saw Lindsey Fay, Haddad, McKee, Olvany, Halle Spataro and Zielinski score points with top six finishes. In a dual meet with the Regional Y of Western CT, Olvany, Scalise, Barsanti, Lovegrove and Zielinski all won events, while Bohnsack, Nguyen, Dwyer, Perkins and Keyes all scored for the Piranhas. Lumsden also added top six finishes in several events at the GRYM Qualifier in mid-Jan.

The 13/over Piranhas have seen consistent performances turned in by Erik Ryan, Erik McKenna and Phoebe Slaughter all season long, with Caroline Orem, Amanda Bieler, Megan Slaughter, Emily Molinelli, Michelle Wall, Maddie Burke, Natalie Grune, Lia Barsanti, Samantha Schrenker , Zach Pear and Patrick Neafsey all scoring points for the team so far this season.

With this seasons’ championship meets just around the corner, the Piranhas are ready to travel to the YMCA States in Cheshire (Feb. 9-10) and the CT Regional Championships (March 2-3), as well as the CT Age Group (March 7-10) and Senior Championships (March 21-24), both at Wesleyan University in Middletown.

The Piranhas are also looking forward to being well represented at the YMCA National Championships in Greensboro, NC from April 3-6.

Swimmers interested in joining the Piranhas are encouraged by the organization to take part in a Stroke Clinic at the YMCA from March 25-28.

“We can evaluate prospective swimmers at that time,” its press release said. “Availability is somewhat limited, but we do have space in some groups.”

For more information contact the Piranhas at [email protected], or call Mary McCarthy, Swim Administrator, at 203-655-8228 x1329.

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