The YWCA Flying Fish swim team had a strong showing at their end of season meets, sending the largest group of qualifiers ever to the Sunkissed Invitational Swim Meet (formerly YWCA National Championships) April 3 through 6 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Flying Fish were represented at the meet by over 49 swimmers competing in two divisions, the Junior Division (13 and under) and the Senior Division (14 and over).

Two Flying Fish women in the Senior Division captured top three finishes. Amelia Girgenti was third in the 100 free (52.81), and Ana Woods was second in the 100 breast (105:19). In the Men’s Senior Division, Ryan Knohl placed third in the 200 Free (1:42.11), third in the 100 Fly (52.23), second in the 500 Free (4:36.70) and third in the 200 Fly (1:54.59). Chris Russo was third in both the 100 back (52.06) and 200 back (1:52.89). The Senior boys 200 and 400 medley relays (1:36.65, 3:29.35) both took second, behind Chris Russo, Jake Girard, Ryan Knohl, and Duncan Martinson. The Senior boys 200 free relay placed third (1:25.62) and the 400 free relay placed second (3:07.01), with Martinson, Knohl, Christian Stankovic, and Russo.

Chris Russo broke two team records in his backstroke events, and the team set six new team relay records, including all of the Senior boys relays, as well as the Senior girls 200 free relay (1:40.22) with Ana Woods, Mary Claire D’Arrigo, Anna Topping, and Amelia Girgenti, and the 13/14 boys 200 medley relay (1:45.68) with Jack Larkin, Ethan Lim, Jonathan Booth and Aidan Dillon.

Matt Gibson was recognized as the Flying Fish “Male Age Group Swimmer of the Year.” Matt had a great season, breaking four team records for 9/10 boys, 50 fly (31.65), 100 fly (1:14.46), 50 back (34.34) and 200 IM (2:48.65). He also placed in the Top 16 in 3 events at Illinois Age Group Champs, 100 Fly (1:14.16), 50 Fly (31.91) and 50 Back (34.24).

Sisters Sophia and Amelia Girgenti were named female Age Group Swimmer of the Year and Senior Swimmer of the Year respectively. Sophia reached the finals in all 6 of her events at the YWCA’s championship meet, qualifying for the top 8 final in the 100 back and 100 free. Amelia qualified for finals in all of her events at the Sunkissed Invitational, and reached the podium with a third place finish in the 100 free.

Male “Senior Swimmer of the Year” was a tie, with both Chris Russo and Duncan Martinson taking home the honor. Chris reached the finals in all of his events and made it to the podium in the 100 and 200 back, breaking team records in both. Chris was also part of each of the four senior relays that broke team records at the meet. Duncan reached the finals in 5 of his events in Charlotte and was an integral part of all 4 record breaking relays. His lead off leg of the 200 free relay was also a team record for 15 – 18 year olds (21.11).

At the senior state championships, five Flying Fish swimmers represented the team in the finals: Clay Hackley (1000 Free), Ryan Knohl (200 Free and 100 Fly), Duncan Martinson (50 Free), Chris Russo (50 Free and 100 Back), and Ana Woods (100 and 200 Breast). 74 Flying Fish participated in regional competition.

Photo caption: The YWCA Flying Fish 200 and 400 Free Relay teams, both composed of Christian Stankovic, Duncan Martinson, Chris Russo and Ryan Knohl, placef third and second (respectively) and broke two team records at the Sunkissed Invitational Swim Meet in Charlotte, North Carolina.

About YWCA Flying Fish Aquatics

With 1300 children in the learn-to-swim program and over 600 swimmers on the team, Flying Fish Aquatics is one of the biggest aquatics programs in Illinois. 175 Learn-to-Swim classes are offered each week in two pools, taught by consistent, professional adult instructors in small classes.

With both competitive and non-competitive tracks, the team has swimmers competing at the highest levels, but also accommodates swimmers who are primarily interested in recreation and fitness, providing a healthy outlet for children who are not ready to commit to the intensity of competitive swimming.

YWCA Flying Fish Aquatics actively reaches out to members of the community who might not otherwise have an opportunity to learn to swim or to participate on the swim team, and provides thousands of dollars of aquatics scholarships each year to families who cannot afford the cost of lessons for their children.

The team is also committed to regularly supporting the community. All team members are encouraged to participate in community service projects and fundraising activities. This year, 500 swim team members participated in the Flying Fish Swim Marathon, swimming nearly 42,000 lengths altogether and raising close to $100,000 to support all of the programs and services of the YWCA Evanston/North Shore.