Middlebury Swim Team wins friendly duel with Vergennes Champs

MIDDLEBURY — On arguably the best evening for a swim meet so far this summer, the Middlebury Swim Team on Tuesday topped friendly Champlain Valley Swim League rival the Vergennes Champs, 268-205, in the Middlebury town pool.
Both teams enjoyed 80-degree sun and gentle breezes, in contrast to the rain and thunderstorms that have struck earlier meets and shortened one competition for each team. MST parent Jenn Staats described the event as “Perfect weather, efficient officiating, happy wet kids, no mosquitoes,” in an email with results to the Independent.
Coaches of the teams agreed having happy wet kids is their programs’ main goal.
MST Coach Colleen Rueppel said she and co-coaches Brianna Foley and Harper Smith try to make sure when swimmers show up at 7 a.m. practices on weekdays they enjoy themselves. She said “finding a love for swimming” as a lifelong sport is paramount for summer teams.
“For practices, the three of us have more influenced the fun aspect of it,” Rueppel said. “Some of the boys are more competitive, but we make sure they’re still having fun. Because it is summer, and they’re taking a huge chunk of their summer to be here. We always goof around with them in practice and play music and everything like that.”
Champs Co-coach Ally Stearns said she and her fellow coaches Alexandra Vutech, Katie Mayer and Emma Cotton have taken a similar approach. And both coaching staffs have also seen swimmers improve dramatically this summer.
“We’re having so much fun,” Stearns said. “We have a lot of little kids that at the beginning of the season couldn’t quite make it across the pool, and now they’re getting there, and it’s just so much fun to watch them.”
Stearns said when swimmers begin to see the work they put in pay off in faster times they are motivated to keep working, and the Champ coaches also offer an extra incentive.
“When they drop times at a meet they get personal best ribbons, which I also think helps motivate them,” she said.
Both teams also have swimmers that should fare well at the CVSL championship meet on July 28 and 29 and then at the state meet in White River Junction the following weekend.
Rueppel said 13-year-old Holly Staats has performed well in the breaststroke at each of the past two state meets; Patrick Stone, 11, could do well; and Nathan Stone and Oliver Poduschnick, both 14, are part of a group that should excel collectively.
“Definitely, our 14-and-under boys have improved a lot in just a year,” Rueppel said.
Stearns said the Champs also have a concentration of strong swimmers in an age group, in their case a 12-and-under girls’ group that includes Madelyn Giroux and Hadley Harris.
“In one age group, the 11-12 girls, a lot of the girls are really competitive in their times, so in every relay it could be a different girl who just beat the other girl out by a couple seconds for a spot on the team,” Stearns said. “And those girls are very competitive, too, so I’m very excited to see what those girls do at league’s and state’s.”
And she said to keep an eye on Will Clark, 8.
“He’s going to do well at state’s — very, very well,” Stearns said.
On Tuesday, leading MST with three wins apiece were Lucy Poduschnick, Ellie Ross, Rachel Merrill, Cam Whitlock and Oliver Poduschnick. Connor McNamara, Aidan Chance, Devon Kearns, Molly Thalen and Archie Milligan added two victories apiece for the home team.
Will Clark and Hadley Harris picked up two victories apiece to lead the Champs.
MST won six of nine medley relays to take an early 42-21 lead. At one point during the butterfly racing, the Champs’ edge in younger swimmers allowed them to cut the advantage to 51-45, but MST won the next four races and was not challenged again.
Earning points for their teams with top-three finishes were:
•  U-8 boys: 1. W. Clark, V, 18.72; 2. Clark Clary, V.
•  U-10 girls: 1. Amelia Giroux, V, 23.72; 2. Lila Cook-Yoder, M; 3. Oprea Littlefield, M.
•  U-10 boys: 1. Whitlock, M, 22.93; 2. Cohen Howell, V.
•  U-12 girls: 1. M. Giroux, V, 34.26; 2. Carlyn Rapoport, V.
•  U-12 boys: 1. McNamara, M, 36.91; 2. Chance, M.
•  U-14 girls: 1. Ross, M, 31.06; 2. Staats, M; 3. Jordan Jewell, V.
•  U-14 boys: 1. N. Stone, M, 28.27; 2. Jarret Muzzy, V; 3. Fraser Milligan, M.
•  U-18 girls: 1. Merrill, M, 31.70; 2. Calista Carl, M; 3. Emma Beauchemin, V.
•  U-18 boys: 1. Kearns, M, 28.63; 2. A. Milligan, M, 28.78; 3. Ethan Sausville, V.
•  U-8 girls: 1. Thalen, M, 22.47; 2. Adrienne Smits, V; 3. Isabella Romond, V.
•  U-8 boys: 1. Maxwell Goodfellow, V, 26.10; 2. Jase Kozak, M; 2. Constantin Bellman, M.
•  U-10 girls: 1. L. Poduschnick, M, 21.56; 2. Margaret Orten, M; 3. Sophia Johnson, V.
•  U-10 boys: 1. Whitlock, M, 23.32; 2. Julian Potter, V.
•  U-12 girls: 1. Harris, V, 37.81; 2. Acadia Clark, V; 3. Maddie Crowne, M.
•  U-12 boys: 1. Chance, M, 38.77; 3. P. Stone, M, 41.83; 3. Tyler Kimball, V, 47.81.
•  U-14 girls: 1. Mischa Yurista, M, 37.19; 2. Olivia Brooks, V; Kaitlyn Little, V.
•  U-14 boys: 1. O. Poduschnick, M, 30.08; 2. Charlie Hodson, M; 3. Muzzy, V.
•  U-18 girls: 1. Beauchemin, V, 37.15; 2. Siobhan Eagan, M; 3. Carl, M.
•  U-18 boys: 1. A. Milligan, M, 29.20; 2. Max Ratti-Bicknell, V; 3. Spencer Doran, M.
•  U-8 girls: 1. Eloise Eckels, V, 33.53; 2. Eleanor Brooks, V.
•  U-8 boys: 1. Crary, V, 28.58; 2. Juan De La Cruz, V.
•  U-10 girls: 1. L. Poduschnick, M, 22.40; 2. A. Giroux, V; 3. Ella Kozak, M.
•  U-10 boys: 1. Rudolf Vorsteveld, V, 27.32.
•  U-12 girls: 1. A. Clark, V, 40.31; 2. Harris, V; 3. Maddie Crowne, M.
•  U-12 boys: 1. McNamara, M, 45.59; 2. Kimball, V; 3. Maci Forgues, V.
•  U-14 girls: 1. Ross, M, 35.34; 2. Staats, M; 3. Sydney Jewell, V.
•  U-14 boys: 1. O. Poduschnick, M, 31.56; 2. Hodson, M.
•  U-18 girls: 1. Merrill, M, 37.63; 2. Sadie Kass, V; 3. Anna Hodson, M.
•  U-18 boys: 1. Kearns, M, 34.72; 2. Ratti-Bicknell, V, 3. Sausville.
•  U-8 girls: 1. Thalen, V, 20.59; 2. E. Brooks, V; 3. Romond, V.
•  U-8 boys: 1. W. Clark, V, 15.75; 2. De La Cruz, V; 3. J. Kozak, M.
•  U-10 girls: 1. L. Poduschnick, M, 18.00; 2. Johnson, V; 3. Cook Yoder, M.
•  U-10 boys: 1. Whitlock, M, 19.07; 2. Vorsteveld, V; 3. Potter, V.
•  U-12 girls: 1. Harris, V, 31.44; 2. A. Clark, V; 3. Crowne, M.
•  U-12 boys: 1. Chance, M, 31.46; 2. Fynn Whitlock, M; 3. Kimball, V.
•  U-14 girls: 1. (Tie) Jewell, V, and Ross, M, 27.96; 3. Anna Rakowski, V.
•  U-14 boys: 1. O. Poduschnick, M, 25.00; 2. N. Stone, M; 3. Muzzy, V.
•  U-18 girls: 1. Merrill, M, 29.00; 2. Beauchemin, V; 3. Carl, M.
•  U-18 boys: 1. A. Milligan, M, 26.20; 2. (Tie) Ratti-Bicknell, V, and Kearns, M, 26.28. 

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