Tyler—The Palestine YMCA Piranhas earned several first-place finishes at their second meet of the season Saturday at the the East Texas Summer Swim League (ETSSL), hosted by the Tyler Titans of East Texas Aquatics.
The Piranhas joined nearly 250 swimmers who met at the new facility near the University of Texas at Tyler. The local group faced stiff competition from the Tyler Titans, the Tyler Rose Aquatic Club, the Doches Dolphins and the Lufkin Sharks.
Twelve-year-old Gavin Shirey accepted the challenge with three first place finishes in the Boys 11-12 50-yard freestyle (29.27), the 50-yard backstroke (35.87), and the 100-yard individual medley (1:19.24).
The 100-yard individual medley requires the athlete to swim 25-yards each of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. He placed second in the 50-yard breaststroke (41.58).
“I am very proud of Gavin,” said Piranha Head Coach Kathrine Newton. “There was an unexpectedly large number of people at this meet—it was loud, it was hot, and it was long. Despite the distractions, Gavin maintained his focus and raced his best times.”
Gideon Ham, 8, also showed maturity, Newton said.
Ham placed first in the Boys 7-8 100-yard individual medley (1:50.87). He also placed a respectable second in the 25-yard freestyle (17.59), the 25-yard backstroke (21.61), and the 25-yard butterfly (22.01).
“Gideon may have met his nemesis in YuFei Wang of the Tyler Titans, having been touched-out by his fellow eight-year old in three races.” Newton said. “It will be interesting to see how this budding rivalry develops.”
Tiny she may be, but Marisa Denney (9) proved her might in the Girls 25-yard 9-10 backstroke with a first place finish (22.60). She also garnered third place in the 25-yard freestyle (18.38).
John Berry (15) also earned a Another blue ribbon with a best time in the Boys 15 & Over 50-yard backstroke (34.06).
Madison Crader (17) was competitive with a second place in the Girls 15 & Over 50-yard butterfly (32.65) and a trio of third place finishes in the 100-yard freestyle (1:04.12), the 50-yard breaststroke (34.41) and the 100-yard individual medley (1:12.12).
Luke Scala (12) was second in the Boys 11-12 Boys 50-yard butterfly (50.04) and third in the 50-yard backstroke (46.02).
The Piranhas will be traveling to Nacogdoches for the third ETSSL meet hosted by the Doches Dolphins of the Boys and Girls Club of Deep East Texas.