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) March 26 through 29 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Flying Fish were represented at the meet by 52 swimmers competing in two divisions, the Junior Division (13 and under) and the Senior Division (14 and over). The team placed fifth overall.

In the Women’s Senior Division Ana Woods placed first in the 100 breast (104:82). In the Men’s Senior Division, Chris Russo took first in the 200 free (1:40.96), and in both the 100 back (51.78) and 200 back (1:50.56). Ryan Knohl placed third in the 100 fly (51.33); Duncan Martinson earned third in the 200 free (1:42.20); and Christian Stankovic placed second in the 200 IM (1:53.69). In the Junior Division, Max Van Mieghem captured first in the 100 breast (1:09.03). The Senior boys 400 medley relay (3:27.35) and 400 free relay (3:05.01) took first behind Chris Russo, Christian Stankovic, Ryan Knohl, and Duncan Martinson. Their 200 medley relay (Stankovic, Jake Girard, Knohl, Martinson) placed second (1:36.12) and the 200 free relay also placed second (1:24.97), with Russo, Stankovic, Girard, and Martinson. All four senior boys relays set new team records.

Chris Russo broke two team records in his backstroke events, and Sophia Girgenti set team records in the 13/14 girls 200 free (1:55.59) and 100 free (53.52), and tied her own team record in the 50 free (24.77).

“This is the largest group of graduating seniors we’ve ever had,” said Flying Fish Head Coach Pete Caragher. “I’m so proud of how they led the way and finished the long season, which they started training for back in August, with some great swims.”

Eighteen Flying Fish competed in the senior state championships March 5-8, five Flying Fish swimmers represented the team in the finals: Ryan Knohl, Chris Russo, Christian Stankovic, and Ana Woods. Six swimmers represented the team at the Illinois Age Group State Championships, and 52 Flying Fish participated in regional competition.

About YWCA Flying Fish Aquatics

With 1300 children in the learn-to-swim program and over 500 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.