YMCA OF MONTCLAIR SWIM TEAM DOLPHINS END 2021-2022 SHORT COURSE SEASON ON HIGH WITH TWO MEETS IN NORTH CAROLINA
By Simon Webb
Montclair, NJ – YMCA of Montclair Dolphins swim team finished the 2021-2022 season on a high, traveling to two competitions in North Carolina as two swimmers raced at the highest level of competition for YMCA teams and eighteen swimmers battled in a tough-to-qualify invitational.
Nead Kojic and Leo Powers swam in the 2022 Short Course YMCA Nationals, the final competition and pinnacle of the season. This year, 169 teams were represented from across the United States at the meet held in Greensboro, North Carolina, from March 28-April 1.
Kojic, 16, raced in the men’s 100-yard breaststroke and ranked 80th, the highest placing for the Dolphins at the national level this year. Powers, 17, raced in the men’s 100-yard fly, placing 83rd. All-rounder Powers also swam the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard breaststroke.
Both swimmers qualified for the 2022 Long Course YMCA Nationals.
They will be joined by fellow Dolphin Colin Ko, 15. Ko smashed his personal best in the finals of the boys 14 and over 100-yard breaststroke in the penultimate event of the season, the Sunkissed Invitational in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ko placed 12th in the finals after swimming 1:00.24 in the preliminaries, a huge 4.8 seconds faster than his previous best and a qualifying time for the YMCA Nationals.
Vicky Sluk, 12, was the top-placed swimmer of the eighteen Dolphins that raced at the Sunkissed Invitational Championships from March 24-27. Sluk placed 6th in the girls 13 and under 200-yard fly, cutting 6.23 seconds from her personal best with a time of 2:34.84. Sluk put in superb all-round performance, placing 10th in the 200-yard backstroke, 11th in the 100-yard IM, 12th in the 100-yard backstroke, and 14th in the 200-yard IM.
Other swimmers that placed in the top-20 in their events in Charlotte for the girls were Sefina Morrison, 13, Charlotte Roeland, 12, and Sara Search, 13. For the boys, Sam Holbech, 12 also had a top-20 finish.
“Our swimmers are getting better not only in terms of seconds but also in learning to convert big dreams into long-term goals by developing personal plans and – most importantly – executing these plans daily step by step,” said Alex Boutov, Director of Competitive Swimming. “It is the best reward for the coaches to see our youth succeed in planning their future and making their dreams come true in and out of the water.”
The Dolphins are already back in the pool at the YMCA of Montclair after a short break, as training begins in earnest for the long-course season.
Pictured Left to Right in Photo: Evan Carlson, Colin Ko, Makayla Tucci, Kellen Ievers, Sam Holbeck (green costume), Sophie Beaubouef, Charlotte Roeland, Alex Boutov (Director of Competitive Swimming), Ellen Last, Sara Search, Emma Dilane, Isabella Mastromarino, Katie Song, Victoria Sluk, Ella Kirkland, Kayleigh Surichaqui, Sefina Morrison, and Magnolia Shimizu-Tragni. Photo credit Jacky Roeland
The YMCA of Montclair Dolphins swim team offers a year-round opportunity for competitive swimming in both YMCA and USA Swimming competitions as well as seasonal instructional clinics for aspiring competitive athletes. The team is comprised of girls and boys from age 6 through high school. Around 200 athletes train with the team each year. They compete at all levels, based on their skill set.