The Cooperstown Clark Sports Center’s Sharks had one of their best seasons in years with the boys placing ninth all around in the Gold Championship, as well as several individuals taking home individual honors.
The Sharks team consists of boys and girls ages 5 to 18 years old and has been coached by Kristen Griger for nine years.
“We had 76 kids turnout this year, which is bigger than usual. Although membership fluctuates, it’s a popular program,” said Griger. “It’s amazing that our little team went to this big championship and did so well. It’s a big deal.”
Griger said she attributes the success not only to the swimmers, but also her swimming instructors at the Clark.
“Matt Phillips, Lindsey Bailey and Katherine Haseley were all remarkable working with the team. We couldn’t have accomplished this much without them,” she said.
Before going for the gold, teams first compete in the Silver Championship which includes almost all swimmers because it is not based on qualifying times. At the event, three swimmers in particular stood out. Liam Spencer took second overall in the boys 9-to-10-age group. Josh Geci placed third overall in ages 11 to 12. Will Weldon won first overall in 11 to 12.
The team members have to qualify by time in the Gold Championships, and the times are challenging to achieve. The event encompassed 200 racers of which 17 were members of the Sharks competing in the finals. The preliminary races were in the morning and the finals took place that night, making for a long day of competition.
“Its amazing that these kids can go swim these events over and over again and get better and better each time,” said Griger.
The Sharks swam in 83 races and had their individual best times in 79 of them. They broke 25 team records.
Six of the swimmers made the finals in several of their events. A few of the team members swam all nine events. Ted Mebust, following family tradition, excelled, at eighth overall in the boys 13-to-14-age group.