YMCA Pirahanas

Representing the Palestine YMCA during the Lone Star 2019 YMCA Texas State Swim Championship in Frisco, Texas, at the Frisco ISD Bruce Eubanks Natatorium, July 18-21, were Piranhas (front row from left): Gideon Ham and Johnathan Ham; Second row: Head Coach Kathrine Newton, Jad Absy, John Berry, Marisa Denney, Gavin Shirey, and Assistant Coach Morghyn Harper (not pictured: Jesse Kelso).

Palestine YMCA Piranha Gavin Shirey, 12, captured two silver medals Saturday at the Lone Star 2019 Texas State Swim Championship hosted by the Dallas Metropolitan YMCA in Frisco, Texas, at the Frisco ISD Bruce Eubanks Natatorium.

Shirey placed second in the Boys 11-12 100-yard backstroke (1:12.71) and in the 200-yard freestyle (2:19.76). He swam his best times by a 6 second margin in the backstroke and by 20 seconds in the freestyle.

“Lone Star is magic for Gavin,” said Piranha Head Coach Kathrine Newton. “I am not sure exactly what it is, but over the last several years it is becoming obvious that Lone Star’s highly competitive environment and this particular Olympic-size pool suits Gavin just fine.”

With best times across the board, Shirey placed among the top six in seven more events. He placed fourth in the 50-yard backstroke (34.03), the 100 yard-freestyle (1:03.59) and the 200-yard individual medley (50-yards each of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle). He placed sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:28.25) and seventh in the 50-yard butterfly (34.80). Finally, he had dual eighth place finishes in the 50-yard breaststroke (41.46) and the 50-yard freestyle (29.91).

Shirey’s performance contributed to the Piranhas' fourth-place overall win among the summer division teams. Jad Absy, 14, donated his fair share of points with sterling performances in the Boys 13-14 100-yard freestyle (1:09.09) and the 50-yard freestyle (27.73). He placed sixth in both events. He also placed seventh in the 200-yard freestyle.

Thirteen was not an unlucky number for Absy with triple finishes in the100-yard individual medley, the 100-yard backstroke (1:21.38), and the 50-yard breaststroke (39.88). He was 14th in the 50-yard butterfly (35.97) and swam to dual 15th places in the 50-yard backstroke (34.84) and the 100-yard breaststroke (1:28.91).

Marisa Denney, 10, took her backstroke to new heights with best times and a 15th-place finish in the 50-yard backstroke (44.88) and 16th in the 100-yard backstroke (1:41.71).

Gideon Ham, 9, touched the wall in twelfth place in the Boys 9-10 50-yard backstroke with a best time of 43.84. The Boys 15 & Over 200-yard medley relay comprised of Shirey, Absy, John Berry, and Gideon Ham placed ninth (2:20.71). Their 200-yard freestyle relay of Shirey, Absy, Berry, and Jesse Kelso was eleventh (2:22.51).

The four-day meet is sanctioned by USA Swimming and requires minimum qualifying times in each event for an individual to compete. Depending upon age-group, preliminary events are run in the mornings and the afternoons followed by evening finals sessions. According to Meet Manager Jennifer Pewitt of the Dallas Metro YMCA, 565 athletes attended the event from 20 teams across Texas and Louisiana with 5400 volunteer hours being logged.

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