YWCA Dolphins Shine in Charlotte

From left, Meghan Lynch, Aiden Bucaria and Penny Lazar proudly show their medals after competing in the 2019 Sunkissed Junior-Senior Swimming Championships of the USA. (contributed photo)

Sparked by three division high point awards and more 48 medals, including 28 gold medal efforts, the Greenwich YWCA Dolphins Swim Team closed out the 2019 Sunkissed Junior-Senior Swimming Championships of the USA with a decisive second place finish.

“We are certainly proud of this team,” said YWCA Dolphins head coach Nick Cavataro. “We had a big group and we obviously have some kids that are very successful. Some of our kids have had some amazing high school seasons this year and they bounced back here to swim a variety of events and a variety of distances. To do that at such a high level this past weekend was very positive. We had some of our middle level kids get some really nice exposure competing at such a big event like this. They responded very well in challenging situations.”

The Dolphins contingent accumulated 1,984-points, in the three and one-half day, 60-event program. The meet formally known as the YWCA National Championship meet, was held at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in downtown Charlotte, N.C.

The defending champions, Empire Swim Club of New York won their 10th consecutive title with 3,658-points. The Zeus Swim team of Norwalk (1,369); Montclair YMCA of New Jersey (1,151); YWCA Flying fish of Illinois (918) and the host Team Charlotte (866) rounded out the 16-team field.

“Having a nice YW team is nice, but I like to think that we have one of the best teams in the area,” Cavataro said. “From the entry level through our developmental level, we take a lot of pride in that and want to do well. We want to expose kids to the next level and have success there as well. That’s really important to us. This meet is a highly-competitive meet that allows us to be competitive and develop valuable big meet experience.”

The Dolphins’ high point winners included Meghan Lynch, 15, who was the only swimmer of the 650 competitors to win all six individual races. Lynch, swimming in the Senior Open division, took home gold in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:48.94; 500-yard free with a time of 4:51.26; 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:02.40; the 200-yard individual medley at 1:59.86; 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2;12.29; and the 400-yard IM with a time of 4:13.71.

“She’s obviously a pretty special swimmer and athlete,” Cavataro said. “The layout of the events suited her very well and she was very strong in all her events, including her relays.”

In addition to six gold medals, Lynch’s times in all the events were meet record times.

Penny Lazar, 12, swimming in the 13-and-under Junior Division, took home four golds, a silver and bronze medal.

Lazar’s wins came in the 100-yard freestyle, posting a time of 54.43 seconds; 200-yard freestyle at 1:56.14; the 500-yard free with a time of 5:06.50 and the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:10.06. Lazar took silver in the 100-yard backstroke at 1:01.61 and bronze in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:11.93.

Aiden Bucaria, 13, grabbed four golds and a pair of silver medals in his six races. The golds came in the 200-yard freestyle at 1:52.35; 200-yar individual medley with a time of 2:05.44; 200-yard breaststroke posting a time of 2:18.58 and 100-yard freestyle at 50.85. The silvers were in the 100-yard breaststroke and 50-yard freestyle, with respective times of 1:04.94 and 23.40.

Harvard-bound, Kate Hazlett, 18, swimming in her last Dolphins short-course meet, grabbed five individual golds. She took the top spot in the 50-yard free with a time of 22.99; 100-yard freestyle with a time of 50.11; 100-yard backstroke at 54.56; 100-yard butterfly, posting a time of 55.15 and the 200-yard back with a time of 1:59.00. Hazlett also took fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:05.80.

“Kate really did a great job taking it event by event,” Cavataro said. “She focused on one event at a time. With all the preliminary races and then the event races and relay races, Kate was in the pool a lot for a lot of different events. Competing in 16 races in over three-and-a-half days can be very exhausting, both physically and mentally. Do be able to get your rest, control your energy output and take things race by race is tough and Kate did an amazing job at all that.”

Abby Bleil, 13, won the Junior 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:07.61 and took silver in the 200-yard breaststroke at 2:26.16.

The Dolphins Senior Girls quartet of Samantha Ennis, Lynch, Hazlett and Samantha Scott took gold in the 200-yard medley relay, posting a time of 1:45.30. The 400-yard freestyle relay also took home gold, with Lynch, Scott, Madeleine Holden and Hazlett combining for a time of 3:25.93.

Lynch, with teammates Scott, Avery Sammons and Hazlett, won in the 200-yard freestyle relay, touching the wall first with a time of 1:35.20.

The junior girls’ relays dominated, taking gold in all four events. Rory Keller, 12; Bleil, Lazar and Anabelle Guarnera, 13, finished the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:54.18. The quartet of Keller, Bleil, Lazar and Campbell Steere, 13, won the 400-yard medley relay at 4;10.13. Not to be outdone was the 200-yard freestyle relay, as the foursome of Guarnera, Percy Wayne, 13, Daisy Decker, 13, and Lazar touched the wall first with a time of 1:42.53. The quartet of Lazar, Steere, Wayne and Guarnera won the 400-yard free relay with a time of 3:41.86.

The Dolphins’ senior boys’ foursome of Max Meissner, 15; Alexander Hazlett, 15; Parker Scott, 17; and Ryan Jee, 15, took third in the 400-yard medley relay (3:31.07); the 200-yard medley relay (1:35.67) and the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:10.79).

“The Empire team, us and Charlotte were all going at it during relays and we fared well,” Cavataro said. “Our junior girls were really strong and the senior girls won their relays. All our relay teams get excited for the events. On the boys side, while they are still young, they are also experienced.”

The Dolphins had several other medalists as well during the championships. Ava Baine, 12, took silver and bronze in the 100-yard butterfly (1:02.48) and 200-yard butterfly (2:17.26) respectively. Alexander Hazlett, 15, claimed silver in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:55.41 and in the 100-yard free (47.66). He also took home bronze in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.64 and in the 200-yard freestyle (1:41.96).

Max Meissner, 15, took bronze in the 400-yard IM with a time of 4:09.02, while Parker Scott, 17, took silver in the 100-yard butterfly, touching the wall with a time of 50.87. Samantha Scott, 17, gained silver and bronze respectively in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events at 23.80 and 51.63. Campbell Steer, 13, was tops in the 100-yard IM (1:03.43), silver in the 200-yard IM (2:16.16) and bronze in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:08.33.

About Author: Paul Silverfarb

Paul Silverfarb, has been editing and reporting on events throughout Connecticut for over a decade. Mr. Silverfarb is quite familiar with Fairfield County, as he grew up in Trumbull, currently resides in Fairfield. Throughout over two decades, he has worked as the editor-in-chief at the Sentinel, as well as sports editor of the Sentinel, Greenwich Post and Norwalk Citizen~News. He graduated from Keene State College in New Hampshire.

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