Sharks place highest ever at Champs

The Lake Monticello Swim Team (LMST) competed in the Jefferson Swim League (JSL) Championship Swim Meet July 27-28 at the U.Va. Aquatics and Fitness Center. The JSL is composed of over 2,800 swimmers on 17 teams in three divisions from Charlottesville and surrounding areas. The results from the JSL Championship Swim Meet determine which division a team will swim in the next season.

LMST had their best-ever swim season this year. Their team has a total of 150 swimmers and is led by head coach Carly Csapo, assistant coaches Maria Arroyo, Sito Arroyo, Fefe Nardone, and Emma Strickland, junior coaches Olivia Strickland and Payton Watson, and shadow coaches Jordan Franco and Hunter Strickland. LMST has become extremely competitive and keeps improving year after year. As a team they placed the highest they had ever placed in the JSL Championships this year. With a total of 1,605.25 points, LMST placed ninth out of 17 swim teams and maintained a solid hold on their place in Division II of the JSL for the fourth year in a row. LMST is now ranked third in its division, up from fifth last year.

The weeks before Championships, LMST swimmers worked extra hard on their swim stroke technique, starts, finishes, and turns. Relay teams also had their own practice to perfect timing. This paid off for LMST as they brought home many awards including two first place medals, four third place medals, the JSL High Point Award given to the swimmer earning the most points, and the JSL On Fire Award given to the most improved swimmer.

Many LMST swimmers placed in the top five or top 10 in their events. This is quite an accomplishment as there can be as many as 150 swimmers competing in a single event. As a team, LMST also brought home the Division II Team Spirit Award. Coaches Nardone, Csapo, Sito Arroyo and Hunter Strickland were also on fire as they took third place in the 100-yard coaches’ medley relay race with a time of 23.56 seconds.

LMST’s top swimmer at Championships was Abigayle Harlow, 15, who medaled in every event she swam during Championships and earned many points for LMST. The JSL awarded Abigayle the High Point Award for earning a total of 83 points for her team during Championships, the most points in the girls 15-18 age division.

Swimmers who gave noteworthy performances included:
• Mateo Achmed-Guzman;
• Christopher Barnes;
• Austin Fairbanks;
• Emily Farist;
• Abbie Ford;
• Cole Gustafson;
• Luke Gustafson;
• Tyler Harris;
• Allyson Lounsbury;
• Jacob Ondek;
• Brenna Rea;
• Nathaniel Smith;
• Hunter Strickland;
• Owen Strickland; and
• Julia Tomaras.

“It has been so exciting to see LMST become a competitive Division II team over the past six years that I have been head coach,” said Csapo. “Our swimmers worked incredibly hard to prepare for the championship meet which resulted in the majority of our swimmers achieving personal best times.”

She also reflected on her time coaching LMST, saying, “Leading LMST to the team it has become is by far the thing I am most proud of. This team has held a special place in my heart since my family stumbled across the sport of swimming in 2000. LMST has filled my summers with joy for as long as I can remember and I am honored to now play a role in our families summer traditions.”

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