The Palestine YMCA Piranha swimming team competed against nearly 400 athletes in the East Texas Summer Swim League’s (ETSSL) annual Champs Meet held Saturday at the Lufkin Swim Center. The meet was hosted by Ambush Swimming.
“Eighteen out of 23 Piranhas finished in the top 16 in at least one event and qualified for our league’s premier All-Stars Meet in Longview at Le Tourneau University next Saturday,” Piranha coach Kathrine Newton said. “I am especially thrilled for first time qualifiers Morghyn Harper, Simeon Davids, Sydney Veneris and John Berry.”
After the match, Newton looked back at the performances and recalled a few unique stories about the first time qualifiers.
“I remember when Morghyn started swimming with me four years ago,” Newton said about the 14-year-old. “The first ribbon she won was in butterfly and it was her 50 butterfly this year that clinched her spot at All-Stars.
“Simeon started the summer not knowing how to swim, but with a great attitude and a lot of perseverance he knocked out a 50 free and a 50 back that’s taking him to Longview,” she added.
Breaststroke was the ticket for 10-year-olds Veneris and Berry. Veneris placed 15th in the 25-yard race with her best time of 28.08 while Berry took the field on the boys’ side winning a gold medal with his best time of 20.90.
Adding to the gold medal count was Kacie Kimbrough, 11, in Girls age 11-12 50-yard freestyle with a time of 30.10, Madison Crader, 12 in Girls age 11-12 50-yard breaststroke with a time of 38.78 and Summer Hagan, 14 with personal best times in both the Girls age 13-14 50-yard freestyle with a time of 27.73 and 50-yard backstroke with a time of 33.92.
“Rosa Hernandez, 15, and Taylor Rosson, 15, had a really great meet,” Newton said. “Despite the heat and the pressure, they kept their focus and it showed in personal best times that translated to a berth at All-Stars.”