SUMMIT, NJ - The Summit Area YMCA Swim team is sending what is believed to be its’ strongest team ever to the 2019 YMCA Short Course National Swim Championship, which begins tonight in Greensboro, NC. The Nationals squad is made up six girls, and ten boys out of the 208 swimmers in the program.
The event at the Greensboro Aquatics Center attracts more than 1,400 elite swimmers from across the country including Olympic hopefuls.
“We are hopeful and optimistic that this group of talented swimmers has a chance to go finals every night,” said Laura Riddell, Director of Competitive Aquatics for the Summit Area YMCA. Riddell speaks with a level of authority garnered through three decades of coaching -- including 10 years as the head coach -- at the Y.
The 'NATS squad' consists of some of the best swimmers from around the area including Summit, New Providence, UCVTS, Seton Hall, Pingry, Watchung Hills, Kent Place and Chatham. Summit High School senior Conor Fagan has mixed emotions about his final club meet. “It’s sad that this is the last time I’ll swim with my brothers and sisters but I am also excited and optimistic about the future.”
Another anchor on the team is Kate Furhmann who graduates this spring from Union Catholic and says the team was a great learning experience. “The SAY team is one of the biggest parts of my life. It has taught me so much about perseverance and commitment to not only myself but also my team. I have met my best friends on this team that I will be with me for life. I would not trade this time for anything!”
When not swimming individual preliminary or final heats, team members will be in the pool each day for practice and time trials, in addition to having an amazing opportunity to meet three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Rowdy Gaines and five-time Gold Medalist Nathan Adrian.
Jack Armstrong, a Senior at Morristown-Beard. summed up the excitement surrounding the team and the meet when he said, “I think going to nationals with this group is going to be amazing. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to swim fast with all of my closest friends around me.”
The team includes: Kate Furhmann, Rawleigh Pollock, Allie Riddell, Autumn Keats-O’Connor, Floyd Conlin, Tristan Cahill, Jack Armstrong, Luke Shea, Conor Fagan, Aidan Hughes, Will Hedges, Bryan Harvey, Vivian Zhang, Melanie Nunn, Lizzy Washburn and Mark Albarez.