Makos beat Elks in fast-paced meet

Makos beat Elks in fast-paced meet

Submitted by Amy Williams

In their first scored swim meet of the season, the Fluvanna Aquatic Sports Team (FAST) Makos faced off against the Elks in Charlottesville June 19.
A strong thunderstorm rolled in just as FAST took to the pool for warm ups, requiring everyone to leave the pool deck. Parents, coaches and swimmers waited out the storm in their cars and under building overhangs. By 7:30 p.m. the storm had cleared and the meet began. To make up for the hour and a half delay, races were combined, resulting in an unusually fast-paced meet with little time for swimmers to rest between events.

FAST handled the quick pace with ease, topping the Elks 387-354. Head coach Nathan Johnson stated that he was proud of how easily the swimmers adapted to the challenges of the evening. He noted that a number of FAST swimmers beat their personal records, in spite of the conditions.

Thomas Sam, 18, had a great night at the pool. This is Thomas’ third summer with FAST. He has also completed two seasons of winter swimming with the Battlefield Area Star Swimmers (BASS). Tuesday night he finished first in the 50-meter freestyle (34.41 seconds) and 50-meter backstroke (46.16) and second in the 50-meter breaststroke (42.54). Thomas has set a goal of finishing his favorite event, the 50-meter breaststroke, in 30 seconds by the end of the summer. Outside swimming, Thomas has a passion for art and looks forward to attending Virginia Tech this fall. He will study computer science. Head Coach Cosmo DiFazio described him as “up for anything and fun to work with.” Teammate Aiden Johnson added, “Thomas is a really good friend,” with which Difazio agreed, indicating how important sportsmanship and comradery is to the team.

Also with a successful night was Joey Hagan, 14. Joey has been swimming with FAST and BASS for an impressive 11 years. Her favorite stroke is the backstroke and she is hoping to see her times drop as the season progresses. She is currently swimming with an injured knee, but is not letting that get in her way, as evidenced by her second place finishes in the 100-meter individual medley (IM) (1:31:00) and 50-meter freestyle (38.59), and first place finish in the 50-meter backstroke (41.69). You will often catch Joey listening to music or dancing poolside, a reflection of her other hobbies of marching band, color guard and dance. Joey received high praise from DiFazio, who described her as one of only a handful of swimmers who practices twice daily. He commends her as “highly coachable with a fantastic work ethic.”

When asked if any of the younger swimmers were standing out at this point of the season, Head Coach Nathan Johnson named Harrison Williams, 9, saying, “Harrison is great to coach. He tries really hard, listens and tries to fix what I ask of him. He really comprehends what I say, takes it and puts it into practice.” Harrison is in his fourth season of summer swimming, but his first with FAST. He came to the team through a winter stroke and turn clinic, where he determined the FAST coaches would provide him with the best opportunity to meet his swimming goals. On Tuesday night he successfully completed his first competition: the 50-meter butterfly. Outside of swimming, Harrison is a homeschooler who loves science, nature and animals.

Individual firsts were secured by James Johnson (100-meter IM, 50-meter freestyle, 50-meter breaststroke), Tyler Davis (100-meter IM, 50-meter butterfly), Jackson Kinsella (100-meter IM, 50-meter butterfly), Noah Klipp (100-meter IM, 50-meter butterfly), Abby Caruso (25-meter freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke), Joseph Sam (50-meter freestyle, breaststroke, and backstroke), Emma DiFazio (50-meter freestyle, backstroke and butterfly), Randolph Crawford (25-meter backstroke), Leanna Collier (50-meter backstroke), and Abigaile Fontenot (25-meter butterfly).
The next FAST meet will be against the Culpeper Country Club July 3.

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