FAST spends a week in the water

FAST spends a week in the water

Submitted by Amy Williams

The Fluvanna Aquatics Sports Team (FAST) had a busy first week of July. They kicked off the week with a Tuesday night meet against the Culpeper Country Club (CCC), saw a number of their swimmers and coaches compete in the July 4 Swim across the Lake, faced the Louisa Gators in a Friday night meet, and capped off the busy week with a relaxing team float down the James River Saturday.

The July 3 meet hosted by CCC provided a number of challenges for FAST. Many of the swimmers were unable to make the drive to Culpeper on the night before the holiday, leaving only 32 swimmers to compete. The oppressive heat had swimmers struggling to stay cool and hydrated between races. In the end, CCC topped FAST 597-336.

Emma DiFazio won the 50-meter freestyle, and 50-meter breaststroke firsts went to James Johnson, Jacob Thurston-Wells and Brady Woodside. Leading in 50-meter backstroke were Emma DiFazio and Brady Woodside. Wins for 50-meter butterfly went to Emma DiFazio, Abby Caruso, Jackson Kinsella and Edwin Navarro. Rounding out the wins for FAST were Brady Woodside, Tyler Davis and Haley Smith, who led their respective 100-meter freestyle races.

FAST team members came together July 4 to participate in the annual Lake Monticello Swim across the Lake. Head Coach Nathan Johnson and Assistant Coach Mike DiFazio finished first and second in their age group. Jackson Kinsella led the 13-17-year-old group and Abby Caruso finished first for the 8 and under.

On Friday (July 5) FAST hosted the Louisa Gators at the Betty Queen Center in Louisa. The Gators topped FAST 513-410. Despite the loss, FAST had a great night with many swimmers seeing significant time improvements and leading in all their races. Finishing first in all of their individual races were:

Tyler Davis: 100-yard individual medley (IM), 50-yard backstroke, 50-yard butterfly;
Emma DiFazio: 100-yard IM, 50-yard freestyle, 50-yard breaststroke;
Brady Woodside: 100-yard IM, 50-yard freestyle, 50-yard butterfly;
Abby Caruso: 25-yard freestyle, 25-yard breaststroke, 25-yard butterfly; and
Shelby Crawford: 50-yard freestyle, 50-yard backstroke.

Johnson expressed pleasure with the performance of the team over the busy week. He made particular note of Shelby and RJ Crawford, Amy and Jonah England and Reed Williams. “The kids and their families bring unique personalities to the team and do an amazing job of adding to the positive atmosphere we try to create for the team,” he said. “We are thankful for their awesome parents as well, who are always helping and making everyone’s life easier.”

Johnson also spoke highly of the Crawfords, saying they “are some of the most coachable kids I’ve ever had the chance to work with. They are both excited to get in the water, learn more and grow their knowledge of the sport.”

Shelby Crawford is a 12-year-old first year swimmer. “I have loved to swim most of life, but this is the first time I have been on a swim team,” she said. “My initial goal was just not embarrassing myself when I swam against other experienced swimmers in my age group. Now I focus on improving my form and time. My coaches are awesome in helping me get better each day.” In addition to swimming, Shelby has been playing soccer since age 4, and has a love of studying “all things turtles,” particularly sea turtles.

Jonah and Amy England

When asked about his experience with FAST, 6-year old RJ said that he knew he wanted to be a part of the swim team after learning about it through an afterschool enrichment program. He hopes to learn to swim “super fast, like Shelby.” He added: “Coaches Cos and Emma are the best and help me get better! Swimming is fun and I have made new friends, too.”

Johnson praised Amy and Jonah England, saying, “The Englands are a new addition to the team but it seems like they have always been here. They just fit in so well.” Amy England is a 9-year-old first year swimmer. Her love of swimming brought her to the team, and she said that she might like to be an Olympic swimmer one day. Outside of swimming, Amy enjoys crafting, her family and loving Jesus. Her brother, 5-year-old Jonah, also loves to be in the pool, and says he “wants to get fast and win all my races.” He enjoys catching fireflies and being outside.

Reed Williams is a 6-year-old in his first summer swimming with FAST. “Reed has done an amazing job this summer of learning new strokes and is always in a good mood,” said Johnson. Reed followed his brother into swimming and said that his favorite stroke is the breaststroke. He loves animals, solving challenging math equations, and science.

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