YMCA Marlins shine at Championships

The YMCA of Greenwich’s Marlins swim team had a strong showing during the 2012 National YMCA Long Course Swimming Championship, which took place July 23 to 27 at the Georgia Institute of Technology Aquatics Center in Atlanta, Ga.

The Marlins finished with impressive top honors, as others placed inside the top 30 in their respective events.

Greenwich resident Katie Evans finished with the gold in the 200-meter breaststroke, netting a winning time of 2:36.41. Her time was less than one-half a second off the Olympic trials cut. Her victory immediately earned Evans the opportunity to pre-qualify for 2012 Speedo Junior National Championships being held this week at the Indiana University Natatorium.

Evans also came in seventh in both the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medley events, as well as 11th in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Evans, who was unable to qualify for the B-finals during the same meet last year, was thrilled about this year’s performance.

“I didn’t go into finals seeded first, so when I looked up at the scoreboard and saw that I won, I was really happy,” Evans said. “This summer we have all worked very hard and it has definitely paid off for all of us. Hopefully the next time it comes around, we will be able to send a team to Olympic Trials. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Greenwich resident Alex Jahan, 14, finished fifth in the 200-meter breaststroke, netting a time of 2:24.31. His time beat the previous Connecticut state record for this event by three seconds. Jahan’s finish in the race also pre-qualified him for the 2012 Speedo Junior National Championships.

“At 14 years old, Alex, for the first time, qualified for the A-flight and he could not have done a better job,” said Connie Wu, YMCA Marlins head coach. “He now holds the record for the 200-meter breaststroke in Connecticut.”

There were also a number of other swimmers on the team who, not only made the final heats at the national meet, but also posted times that are competitive on the national scale outside of YMCA swimming.

Erin Dunstan, 17, placed 16th and 22nd, respectively, in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events, putting up times of 1:16.67 and 2:44.11.

In the 200-meter butterfly, Sarah Hodes, 15, placed 19th in the finals with a time of 2:24.67, but also swam a personal best time during the preliminary session. Her time ranks her 82nd in the nation among her 15-year-old peers.

Oscar Ike, another 15-year-old Marlin swimmer, placed 25th in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2:14.27, ranking him 91st in the nation.

Rounding out the Marlins’ finalists was Carolyn Morikawa, 13, who placed 29th in the 50-meter breaststroke with a preliminary time of 35.70 seconds.

As a team that saw no swimmers reach the B-finals only one year ago at the same meet, it is evident that the Greenwich Marlins have made vast improvements as a group over a relatively short period of time.

The coaching staff emphasized that the team will continue to set high goals in an effort to make equal strides in the coming year.

“The team had a great experience in Atlanta and they all swam very well,” Wu said. “These kids work very hard and practice throughout the year. For some, they have dreams of the Olympics. For others, they just love to swim. But all of them have a great time, are learning about themselves and building on their confidence. We may be seeing some of them at the Olympics one day.”

The YMCA of Greenwich was founded in 1916 and today it is the largest community-based organization in Greenwich with more than 5,000 members. To learn more, visit Greenwichymca.org.

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