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Montclair YMCA Dolphins Excel at Winter Classic Meet

Head Age-Group Coach Matt Garifo with some of the Montclair YMCA swimmers at the OCY Winter Classic Meet. Credits: Rachel Bernstein

The Ocean County YMCA held its annual OCY Winter Classic swim meet (formerly Strong Kids Invitational) on December 9-11 in Toms River.  Over 720 swimmers from 9 teams including 85 Montclair YMCA Dolphins competed in this annual scholarship fundraiser meet.  


62 Dolphins swimmers earned 233 top 20 finishes for the team.  Over 94% of the Dolphins swimmers saw improvements in their times, with a number of new qualifications for the NJ Swimming Junior Olympics and the team favorite Sunkissed Invitational Jr/Sr Championships of the USA to be held in Charlotte, NC at the end of March 2017. 


20 Dolphins had a total of 55 top 5 finishes.  They include: Lenny Brown (16), Gaea Caro (13), Natalie Dripchak (11), Ellie Felber (11), Carly Frank (10), E. Pittman (11), Diego Pla-Silsby (11) and Natasha Nowaczek (10) of Montclair; Dominic Ancey (12) of Belleville; Aly Breikaa (10), Justin Cueva (10), Ryan LoCicero (10) and Mizell McEachin (13) of Bloomfield, Izzy Deubner (13), Leo Powers (12), Katie Song (10) and Millie Steffe (14) of Glen Ridge, Christian Remache (12) of Nutley, Simone Byun (14), Kazuri Lateef (10) and Howard Zhuang (10) of West Orange.  Among those were first place finishes by Powers (100 and 200 fly), Zhuang (50 breast) and Breikaa (100 free).

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In the relays, the Dolphins earned top 3 finishes in 9 out of 16 events. The 9-10 boys relay team of Breikaa, Cueva, Anestis Pavlidis (10) of West Orange and Zhuang came away with first place in the 200 free relay.


Head Age Group Coach Matt Garifo said, “We are so proud of how hard our swimmers have worked and how well they did.  This meet is a highlight of the season for a lot of our swimmers and they earned many many best times.  I think they are well prepared as we head into Championship season.”


Next up for the Dolphins is one of the most competitive meets of the season:  Holiday Classic XXX.  The fastest Dolphins who meet aggressive meet cuts will compete December 16-18 in the Sonny Werblin Pool on the campus of Rutgers University.


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. More than 200 athletes train with the team each year. They compete at all levels, based on their skill set.


For more information about the Montclair YMCA Dolphins swim team, contact head coach Madeira at or 973-744-3400.

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