Chippewa Valley YMCA Swimmers Move on to National Championship
five local swimmers will compete in the 2023 YMCA National Swimming Championship
The YMCA of the Chippewa Valley’s competitive swim team, the Barracudas, took home two first place wins at the Wisconsin/Upper Michigan State Swim Meet in mid-March, and five of the team’s swimmers are advancing to the 2023 YMCA National Swimming Championship.
The championship will run the week of April 3 and feature races in freestyle, fly, relays, and more. The five Barracudas headed to Greensboro, North Carolina, for the national championship are Gabi Augustin, Peyton Watson, Ava Insteness, Evelyn Arnold, and Erik Petrowski.
“Being in the Top 2 at the YMCA State Meet in back-to-back years shows the dedication, commitment, and love for the sport that our athletes have,” Ryan Wedl, YMCA Barracudas Swim Team head coach, said in a YMCA press release. “Watching our swimmers succeed as well as be excited for their teammates’ success is incredibly fun to see!”
At the Wisconsin/Upper Michigan meet in March, the Barracudas took home first place in Overall Team and in Overall Female Team, the girls’ relay team qualifying for nationals in the meet’s 800 free relay.
Individual champions at the March meet included Rose McDougall, Kaelum Clark, Brianna Johnson, Sydnie Albright, Elon Bramwell, Evenlyn Arnold, Peyton Watson, and Gabby Augustyn.
Wedl said the team worked hard this season to improve their skill levels, techniques, and endurance, and it has shown.
Watson and Arnold broke several records at the March meet, alongside Ella Spitz for the Girls 1650 Free and Erik Petrowksi for the Boys 50 Free in the 15-16 age group.
Now prepping for the national championship for the second year in a row, Wedl pointed out the improvement of the team since last year. “Once again having five swimmers qualify for nationals is amazing for the program, as many of our younger swimmers look up to these athletes. Not only do we have the same number of qualifiers, but we have more events qualified in than last year including all five girls relays, which is a huge accomplishment,” he said. “Getting to swim at the National Meet is always a goal for our swimmers, and I am excited for these five to get to Greensboro."
The Barracudas Swim Team combines YMCA and USA year-round competitive swimming programs in Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, and surrounding areas, and includes more than 200 student athletes between the ages of 5 and 19.
Visit ymca-cv.org/swimteam to learn more about the Chippewa Valley YMCA Barracudas Swim Team program, and keep up with the local YMCAs on Facebook. Good luck, swimmers!