The Palestine YMCA Piranhas started their 2019 East Texas Summer Swim League in Longview Saturday by competing against the Marshall Marlins and the event’s host team, the Longview Metro Aquatics. Garnering first place finishes in the Lobo Longview High School Natatorium were Gideon Ham (8), Gavin Shirey (12), Madison Crader (17), and Sam Veneris (17).
The 10 & Under mixed 100-yard freestyle relay team of Gideon Ham, Maggie Scala, Jonathon Ham, and Marisa Denney touched the wall in first place (1:23.26). Their 13 & Over counterparts of Sam Veneris, Jad Absy, Crader, and John Berry also won first place in the mixed 200-yard freestyle relay (1:55.39).
“It is remarkable how well the team was able to process only two weeks of practice into best times and good finishes that got the attention of their competitors,” said Piranha Head Coach Kathrine Newton. Newton is assisted this year by Morghyn Harper.
Gideon Ham’s journey was pure blue. The speedy eight-year-old touched the wall first in the Boys 7-8 25-yard free (17.71), backstroke (21.40), breaststroke (26.62), and butterfly (22.06).
Teammate 12-year-old Shirey was first in the Boys 11-12 50-yard freestyle (29.69) and backstroke (34.68). Shirey also won dual third places in the 50-yard breaststroke (43.67) and butterfly (35.91).
Following a two-year hiatus, Crader was back in the pool and continuing her winning ways. She placed first in the Girls 15 & Over 50-yard freestyle (28.22) and breaststroke (34.59). She was also second in the 100-yard Individual Medley (1:11.72) and 50-yard butterfly (32.69).
Sam Veneris (17) earned a first place ribbon in the Boys 15 & Over 50-yard breaststroke (33.64). He also had twin third place finishes in the 50-yard freestyle (28.76) and backstroke (33.78).
The Ham family story continued as Liberty Ham (6) placed second in the Girls 6 & Under 25-yard backstroke (52.67). Ten-year-old Jonathon Ham also placed second in both the Boys 9-10 25-yard freestyle (20.06) and backstroke (27.25). He was third in 25-yard breaststroke (35.06).
In the Girls 9-10 age-group, Marisa Denney (10) had two second place finishes in the 25-yard back (22.31) and breaststroke (28.34). She was third in both the 25-yard freestyle (18.76) and butterfly (25.08).
Piranha newcomer Jesse Kelso (10) placed third in the Boys 9-10 25-yard backstroke (37.64).
Absy (14) joined the red and white rush with two seconds in the 50-yard freestyle (30.25) and backstroke (39.34) and two thirds in the breaststroke (43.03) and butterfly (38.50).
Sydney Veneris (15) reaped triple third place finishes in the 50-yard freestyle (32.75), backstroke (39.35), and breaststroke (46.53).
Berry enjoyed a second place in the Boys 15 & Over 50-yard freestyle (28.28) and third place in the 50-yard butterfly (28.84).
Also representing the Piranhas were Drayton Holliday (7), Kelsee Hogard (11), Michael Elias (11), Luke Scala (12), Colyer LaFontaine (15), and Arthur Elias (16).
The team will be back on the road next Saturday to compete in Tyler at the East Texas Aquatic Center. The ETSSL event will be hosted by the Tyler Titans.