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Tsunami Swim Team Growing Strong

The 2017-2018 Tsunami Swim Team at the Perth Amboy YMCA
*Photo by Paul W. Wang

By: Katherine Massopust

PERTH AMBOY –   The Perth Amboy YMCA’s Tsunami Swim team has now grown to 60 swimmers (ages 6-18). The Amboy Guardian sat down with Coaches Darian Russell (Head Coach) and Meredith Lyndon (Assistant Coach) of Perth Amboy YMCA’s Tsunami Swim Team to discuss the team’s evolution and progress. There are three other coaches: Paula Carpente, David Diez and Daniel O’Sullivan.

AG: What motivated the Staff of the Perth Amboy YMCA to create a Swim Team?

ML: One of the past Aquatic Directors often talked about starting a swim team, so he decided to start one in 2012. The Team started with 11 kids in the first year (it was still unofficial). We had a 5-year plan. Now (in its 5th year) we have 60 swimmers from ages 6 to 17. Some of the kids also swim on the PAHS Swim Team.

DR: Just look at this facility. How could you not have a swim team here?

AG: 60 kids – are you accepting any more this year?

ML: Sure.

AG: How many of the team members live in Perth Amboy?

DR: At least 90% of the swimmers are from Perth Amboy. There’s 1 from Sayreville, and a couple from Edison and Woodbridge.

AG: Can you emphasize enough the importance of learning how to swim?

ML: You can’t emphasize it enough. You live in a community surrounded by water. So many kids can’t swim.  70% of the Earth is covered by water. It is so important to learn how to swim. It’s good to learn so you don’t have fear of the water.

AG: What is the easiest and what is the most difficult stroke for most kids to learn?

DR: Freestyle and Backstroke are the easiest. Breaststroke is the hardest. You need to know all 4 strokes (Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle) to be on the swim team. We teach the kids how to do the strokes legally and work from there. They have to get a feel for it.

AG: What are the requirements to be on the Tsunami Swim Team?

DR: A kid needs to swim one lap freestyle and one lap backstroke without stopping (and be a member of the Y). Some of the kids that come out are afraid of the water. It takes a while to get that fear out of their head, first.

ML: Swimming is a lifetime sport.

AG: Are there any swimmers that stand out?

DR: There’s a couple of swimmers that really have potential. Alicja Sowa, Aaron Lucena, Dalisha Romero, Kaleb Mendez, Emily Leon, and Melanie Carvalho all stand out. You know when someone has great drive. Our goal is to get College Scholarships for the kids that qualify.

AG: What are your future goals for the team?

DR: We would like to get all the swimmers to reach Silver Status. There are bronze championships, silver championships and state championships for the YMCA League. All kids are eligible for college scholarships with lots of hard work and dedication.

AG: What other activities do the swimmers do?

DR: They have a dry land workout which includes calisthenics.

ML: They swim from 500 yards to 1000 yards on a lower level and 2500 yards to 3000 yards on higher level. They do drills and stroke development. We practice doing surface dives (off the starting block) every day.

AG: How do the team members get along?

ML: There’s terrific camaraderie. This fall, the parents got together for pumpkin picking. They held a party for the team members. There’s more than just swimming. The kids get along.

DR: It’s a family atmosphere. Parents volunteer their time.

ML: Practice is 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., 4 days a weeks.

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