The Palestine YMCA Piranha Swimming Team officially began its 2014 season by competing at the Lufkin Time Trials Saturday in the Lufkin Swim Center.
The event was hosted by Ambush Swimming of the Boys and Girls Club and featured 250 swimmers.
“After only one full week of practice, the Time Trials is a great opportunity to see what our swimmers remember from last year and what needs work this year,” Piranha Coach Kathrine Newton said. “I was pleased to see the focus and the good attitudes displayed by the team — especially knowing that many of our competitors enjoy year-round programming or are able to begin preparation early in the spring.”
According to Newton, the Piranhas apparently had good memories, if the first place finishes of Kacie Kimbrough, 11, in 50-yard freestyle with a time of 28.98; Madison Crader, 11 in 50-yard breaststroke with a time of 36.78; and Summer Hagan, 14, in 50-yard butterfly with a time of 31.54, were any indication.
“All three races brought the crowd to its feet,” said Newton. “Kacie and Summer touched-out opponents by narrow margins and Madison’s closest rival was nearly three seconds behind.”
Joining the trio by placing in the top eight in at least one event in their age group, were Chase Fields, 11, Rosa Hernandez, 15 and Eli West, 18.
“Most importantly, I am happy to say that every member of the team posted their best times in more than one event,” said Newton.
Rounding out the Piranha roster competing in Lufkin were John Berry, 10, Serena Coker, 14, Grace An George, 11, Morghyn Harper, 14, Alex Hassell, 11, Jacob Hatfield, 15, Alex Hernandez, 13, Taylor Rosson, 15, Sam Veneris, 11, Sydney Veneris, 10, and Ian West, 15.
The Piranhas are members of the East Texas Summer Swim League (ETSSL) which is comprised of 11 teams from Athens, Lufkin, Longview, Marshall, Mount Pleasant, Nacogdoches and Tyler.
The purpose of the ETSSL is to introduce the youth of East Texas to competitive swimming, to provide area swimmers a glimpse into the world of USA Swimming (the national governing body of swimming in America), to be part of a team, and to enjoy a positive, competitive atmosphere where individual and team accomplishments are celebrated.