The Sussex County YMCA Swordfish Swim Team is heading to Long Course Y National Championships for the first time ever! Swimmers Michael Pacholarz, Brooke Gardner and sister Abbey Gardner have all made the qualifying times to represent the Swordfish in Greensboro, North Carolina the first week in August. The swimmers led by Competitive Swim Director Ray Gaffney will be testing their skills among over 1,000 swimmers from around the country. Gaffney’s innovative approach to swim training, positive motivation and leadership has brought the Swordfish swimmers to higher levels from new swimmers advancing their skills in the sport to seasoned swim competitors.

Within Gaffney’s first year as Competitive Swim Director and Head Coach of the Swordfish he has seen huge progress in all his swimmers ranging in age from 6 to 18. Gaffney’s leadership of age group coaches and motivating charismatics has proven to be a successful combination. Gaffney even brought Olympic swimmers Nathan Adrian and Josh Davis to Sussex County YMCA to swim with his team. His swimmers were able to spend time with the Olympians asking questions and hearing from professional swimmers the importance of a strong mind, body and spirit. An experience to last a lifetime for his team.

As the long course season concludes, Gaffney sets his sights on the short course season beginning in September. He is hopeful of growing the team and making an impact in even more children in the area who enjoy the sport of swimming. Gaffney plans to introduce more innovative training techniques for each swimmer on the team to improve their skills. Last season the Swordfish ended the short course season with two of its swimmers with Y National times. Among the many goals Gaffney has for the upcoming short course season is to have a larger presence at the National Meet next spring. Swordfish tryouts begin Sunday, July 30. If you have a swimmer interested in trying out registrations are available at

ABOUT THE Y Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges is the largest association of YMCAs in New Jersey, serving more than 35,000 individuals and providing more than $1.2 million in financial assistance each year. Its six YMCAs, located in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne, are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living, and fostering social responsibility. They offer an array of programs that build spirit, mind and body for all people of all ages and all circumstances.