Alex Burns became the first State Champion since 2002 for the Pocono Family YMCA Swim Team when she took 1st place in the 11-12 Girls 50-Yard Freestyle event on Saturday, March 21, at Penn State University. Burns’ win capped a weekend of outstanding achievement by the 13 swimmers who qualified for the competition. It was the largest contingent the Piranhas have ever sent to the State meet.
On the first day, the younger athletes won at least a ribbon in every event they swam. Along with her 1st in the sprint, 12-year-old Burns took 7th in the 100-Yard Freestyle and swam the lead-off leg for the 200-Yard Freestyle Relay team, which dropped 3 seconds and finished 4th after being seeded 11th. Other members of the 11-12 Girls team were Alana Slater (12), Baileigh Vanderhoof (12) and Emily Wolbert (11). Emily qualified for two individual events as well, and finished 11th in the 200-Yard Freestyle and 12th in the 200-Yard IM.
Zack Wolbert (9) also had an outstanding event, placing 4th in the Boys 10 & Under 50 Yard Butterfly and 7th in the 50-Yard Breaststroke. Colin Naturale (10) improved to 10th in the 100-Yard Freestyle and finished 12th in the 50-Yard Breaststroke. Wolbert and Naturale were joined by Brandon Swingle (10) and Kevin Inglesby (10) in the 200-Yard Medley Relay, where they finished seventh. Benjamin Gendleman (12) had a personal best time in taking 5th in the Boys 11-12 50-Yard Butterfly.
The four older swimmers swam well, but only Lena Yang (14) and Elizabeth Jordan (17) were able to reach the medal stand. Yang placed 9th in the Girls 13-14 50-Yard Freestyle and Jordan was 6th in the Girls 15-18 100-Yard Breaststroke. Jordan also qualified for the 100-Yard Freestyle. Other State competitors for the Piranhas were Colin Cruz (14), who missed out in the 100-Yard Breaststroke despite a personal best time, and Janay Parrish (13), who was .02 second short of a ribbon in the Girls 13-14 100-Yard Breastroke.
Alex Burns’ time of 25.59 for the 50 Free has made it possible for the Pocono YMCA to send a 200 Yard Freestyle Relay team to the YMCA National Championships in Fort Lauderdale next month. Burns, Yang and Avanti Banks (15) will join Elizabeth Jordan, who qualified for three individual national events: 50 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle and 100 Breaststroke.