Roseburg YMCA Swim Team won the team title at the Northwest Region YMCA Championships at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington, last weekend.
A total of 12 swimmers represented Roseburg in the 29-team competition, which served as a qualifying meet for the Y swimming & Diving Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“Our younger swimmers have been working hard all winter, setting goals, trying hard to qualify for this event. Some qualified in only one and others in several. It is important for young athletes to set goals and work hard to achieve them,” RYST coach Dave Myhill said. “We wanted as many as we could attend this meet for the experience of swimming in a championship environment. I was pleased that we were able to take 12 athletes.”
There were three divisions based on size of the team and Roseburg was in Division 3. Individual points were awarded to the top 16 swimmers and relays were double points.
“The uniqueness of these championships is that teams are competing against teams,” Myhill said. “It teaches athletes that everyone’s race is important and everyone’s effort benefits their team. It’s not just about the individual performance. It’s a great way to experience and team spirit.”
Every morning, after the National Anthem, the YMCA song was played and swimmers would surround the pool and do the hand motions. The focus was all about celebrating youth, their accomplishments and youth development.
The girls 10-and-under won the 200 medley relay with Ellie Ketchum, Mallory Colvin, Makenzie Weaver and Irelyn Weaver. The same four finished second in the 200 freestyle relay.
Ketchum, 9, had top individual finishes as well, placing fourth in the 50 fly, sixth in the 200 free and eighth in the 50 breaststroke and 50 free. Colvin also competed individually and placed fourth in the 100 fly, fifth in the 200 individual medley, sixth in the 50 fly and 14th in the 50 breast.
Irelyn Weaver, 10, earned the most points for the team, finishing first in the 50 free and 100 breaststroke and fourth in the 100 IM and 200 free.
“She came into this meet ready to compete with the best in the Northwest,” Myhill said. She came into this meet with amazing mental focus. Every event she would say, ‘I’m going to cut time off’ and she did. In every event. She really swam for the team to get us points. I like to see that combination of competitive fire, determination and team spirit.”
Londyn Weaver, 8, was the high point winner in the 8-and-under division. She competed in seven events, finishing second in four of them, third in one and fourth in two.
Alex Totoian, 8, finished second in the 50 backstroke and 25 fly, third in the 25 free and 50 fly.
“Alex has had a banner year,” Myhill said. “He really helped the team with his passionate competitive swimming. He always gives 100 percent. He always tried to do his best.”
Kathryn Blue, Emily Borges, Savannah Sanders and Natalie Ramirez swam to an 11th place finish in the 14-and-under 200 medley relay.
The 13-year-old Borges, a Fremont Middle School student, swam with a sore shoulder but had two 10th place finishes, earning the team much-needed points.
Random Radford, a 14-year-old from Sutherlin, made his debut at a YMCA regional meet and was able to swim personal bests in both the 100 backstroke and the 200 IM.
“Every swimmer contributed to the first place team award,” Myhill said. “Whether it was through best times, personal effort, relays or cheering on teammates. Amazing things can happen when people pull together. I’m glad these kids had this experience. The memories, I know, they will have for a lifetime. The life lessons of teamwork and perseverance, however, will make them into better teammates and better individuals.”
TEAM SCORES — 1. Roseburg Y Swim Team, 553; 2. Tornados Swim Club, Vancouver, Washington, 505; 3. Mel Kori, Pierce & Kitsap Counties, Washington, 418.