By Ben Stroup
This weekend’s Great Lakes Zone Championships will be packed with DRY swimmers … and no, that’s not an oxymoron.
DRY, also known as the Delaware Community Center YMCA Riptide Swim Team, will be well represented as the squad is sending a program-best 30 swimmers — 12 in individual events and another 18 as part of 12 different meet-qualifying relay teams — to the regional showcase in Canton.
The team’s list of qualifiers is up from last season, and it’s no accident. DRY coaches credit a spike in participation and a revamped conditioning program as area swimmers will compete in a combined 57 events over the course of the three-day event.
“I’m happy to see the progress our team makes year after year,” head coach Axel Birnbirch said. “We added dry-land conditioning this year, and it is really paying off in the pool.”
“We are extremely pleased with the growth of our team,” juniors coach Stephanie Frisch said. “Our 8-and-under group is up and coming, which will feed into our older age groups as time goes on. Our 9-10 group has a number of very strong swimmers that will be aging up next year … so we are really beginning to set the stage for seasons to come.”
As for this year’s stud swimmers, four girls and eight boys qualified for individual events. The girls will be led by Olly Gollmar (15), Maddie Richardson (12) and Mackenzie Carter (10), who punched tickets to a combined 15 different events, five apiece. Alison Vaulx (9) also earned a spot in the meet, qualifying for the 10-and-under 200 freestyle with a time of 2:25.25.
Connor Green (12) and Philip Holst (12), meanwhile, will be busy boys over the course of the weekend, qualifying for a combined 14 different events, seven apiece. They’ll be going head-to-head in five of them, including the 500 freestyle, 50 backstroke, 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
Mason Miller (10) will also have plenty to keep him busy, qualifying for five different events, while Wesley Hammond (17) earned a spot in four and C.J. Abahazi (10) will swim in three. T.J. Blackwood (17), Jonathan Holst (17) and Max Miller (13) will each swim in one individual event.
Qualifying relays include the senior girls 800 freestyle relay (Gollmar, Kajsa Mays, Lizzie Abahazi and Mikayla Seman), the senior boys 800 freestyle relay (Blackwood, Hammond, Nick Hull and Jonathan Holst), the senior boys 400 freestyle relay (Blackwood, Hammond, Hull and Jonathan Holst), the 11-12 girls 200 freestyle relay (Richardson, Sophia Taracko, Libby Uniss and Brooke Kleinschmidt), the 11-12 boys 200 freestyle relay (Philip Holst, Green, Drake Bellisari and Carson Vaulx), two 10U girls 200 freestyle relays (Carter, Evaleigh Garnett, Ava Elliott and Alison Vaulx and Regan Kauderer, Olivia Elliott, Calyn Scott and Meg Wolf), the 10U boys 200 freestyle relay (Miller, Nate Richardson, Cameron Petitt and C.J. Abahazi), the senior boys 200 freestyle relay (Blackwood, Jonathan Holst, Hull and Hammond), the 11-12 girls 200 medley relay (Taracko, Maddie Richardson, Claire Duffy and Uniss), the 11-12 boys 200 medley relay (Green, Philip Holst, Bellisari and Carson Vaulx), the 10U boys 200 medley relay (Pettit, Miller, C.J. Abahazi and Nate Richardson) and a pair of 10U girls 200 medley relays (Carter, Rylee Jarosz, Alison Vaulx and Garnett and Ava Elliott, Wolf, Regan Kauderer and Olivia Elliott).
Action is set to get underway today at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s slate of races will begin at 8:25 a.m.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.