Champs top Marlins as all enjoy pool duel

VERGENNES — After some uncertainty, the weather on Tuesday joined swimmers and parents by smiling on the annual duel in the pool between the Middlebury Marlins and Vergennes Champs, won by the larger host Champs’ team, 255-203, thanks to their dominance in the relay events.
Make no mistake, the swimmers all wanted to win their races once late-afternoon thunderstorms cleared out and the warm sun that followed allowed the meet to be staged.
At the same time, the teams’ coaches know, as the saying goes, winning isn’t everything. Many of the teams’ swimmers compete together during the winter, and Marlins Coach Colleen Rueppel helps coach them.
Rueppel and the Champs’ coaches emphasize enjoying the summer activity and improving what is a lifelong skill more than the sport’s competitive aspect.
MIDDLEBURY MARLIN ARCHIE Milligan swims the backstroke leg of the 18-and-under boy’s medley relay in Vergennes Tuesday evening. Milligan’s team won the event.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell
“It’s just a friendly meet. It’s not anything where we say, ‘We have to win.’ We are friends with Vergennes because we have so many swimmers we have friendships with,” Rueppel said. “For me it’s fun because I get to see my swimmers from the winters. So it’s a lot of fun, a good meet to be at.”
Still, Champs Co-assistant Coach Bill Clark said because so many of the swimmers know each other and because the meets between the teams are typically competitive they carry a little extra meaning.
“These are our buddies, Middlebury. A lot of those kids swim together over the winter. So it’s kind of funny. I really don’t know that you could really call it a rivalry,” Clark said. “But I think they would say this meet matters a little more.”
But he, like Rueppel, is more concerned about seeing the Champs improve and enjoy themselves. Last year he and the other Champ coaches offered the team snow cones if their collective times dropped by 300 seconds, a hurdle they cleared.
This year the Vergennes team is stronger — they clinched a rare winning record for an Addison County team on Tuesday — and have cleared a higher hurdle: 800 seconds of collectively improved time since the season opened.
“It’s not a scientific survey or anything, but it’s a good measure of how hard these kids are working and how much they are improving. They got to 800 in the same time it took them to get to 300 last year,” Clark said. “So they’re learning a lot of great skills. They’re swimming hard. We’ve got a lot of new families this year that have done amazing. Some of these kids, it’s like they’ve been doing it for a couple of years already. So I think it’s been a really fun year already.”
Champ Co-head Coach Alex Vuttech, in her second year with the team, said chemistry is playing a role as well as talent.
“Everyone has great energy. Every practice everyone seems so playful, and I think that makes a huge difference,” Vuttech said. “And the big kids set such a good example for the little kids, and the little kids do the same for the big kids.”
VERGENNES CHAMP ELLA Bearor cuts through the water during the eight-and-under medley relay at Tuesday’s meet with Middlebury. Vergennes won their home meet, 255-203.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell
Rueppel echoed her Champ counterparts. Although the Marlins have won just once they also have bettered times, notably among a strong group of younger swimmers, and benefitted from outstanding individual efforts.
“It’s been a really fun season. We’ve improved a lot,” Rueppel said. “We have a lot of new swimmers that have joined, a lot of little ones, so it’s a lot of fun. It’s fun to see them progress throughout the season.”
In the pool on Tuesday the Champs’ depth made the difference: They fielded more and stronger relay teams and won 12 of the 16 relays, good for a points edge in those events of 84-28 that proved decisive in a meet they won by 52 points.
Middlebury held an edge in triple winners, with Holly Staats, Ellie Ross, Oliver Poduschnick and Connor McNamara each winning three times, a feat matched by two Champs, Will Clark and Adam Clark.
A particularly hotly contested race saw Poduschnick win the 18-and-under boys’ butterfly by a hundredth of a second over Ethan Sausville.
The meet saw two double winners, Champs Eleanor Brooks and Hadley Harris.
Champs and Marlins scoring points for their teams with top-three finishes in individual events were:
   MADELYN GIROUX SWIMS the butterfly leg of the 12-and-under butterfly event at Tuesday’s swim meet between Vergennes and Middlebury. Giroux and her Vergennes teammates won the event.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell
•  U-8 girls: 1. Ella Bearor, V, 22.26; 2. Sadie Chance, M; 3. Sophia James, V.
•  U-8 boys: 1. Daniel Power, M, 26.15; 2. Constantin Bellman, M; 3. Flint Crary, V.
•  U-10 girls: 1. Adrienne Smits, V, 23.62; 2. Louisa Orten, M.
•  U-10 boys: 1. Will Clark, V, 17.71; 2. Clark Crary, V.
•  U-12 girls: 1. Madelyn Giroux, V, 32.75; 2. Acadia Clark, V; 3. Ava Schneider, M.
•  U-12 boys: 1. McNamara, M, 35.63.
•  U-14 girls: 1. Staats, 31.65, M; 2. Natalie Rockwell, M; 3. Anna Doucet, V.
•  U-14 boys: 1. Aidan Chance, M, 35.27.
•  U-18 girls: 1. Rachel Merrill, M, 30.86; 2. Ross, M; 3. Jordan Jewell, V.
•  U-18 boys: 1. O. Poduschnick, M, 27.63; 2. Ethan Sausville, V; 3. Nathan Stone, M.
•  U-8 girls: 1. Brooks, V, 22.76; 2. Aurora Foley, M; 3. Annika Smits, V.
•  U-8 boys: 1. F. Crary, V, 25.57; 2. Power, M; 3. Henry Stroup, V.
•  U-10 girls: 1. Isabella Romond, V, 22.89; 2. Adrienne Smits, V; 3. Eleanor Orten, M.
•  U-10 boys: 1. Juan De La Cruz, V, 24.41; 2. Cohen Howell, V; 3. True Fetterolf, M.
•  U-12 girls: 1. Harris, V, 35.78; 2. M. Giroux, V; 3. Lucy Poduschnick, M.
•  U-12 boys: 1. Patrick Stone, M, 39.53; 2. McNamara, M; 3. Gavin Conrad, V.
•  U-14 girls: 1. Rockwell, M, 35.75; 2. Catherine Carpenter, M; 3. Olivia Brooks, V.
•  U-14 boys: 1. Adam Clark, V, 34.84; 2. A. Chance, M; 3. Jackson Coffey, V.
•  U-18 girls: 1. Ross, M, 33.87; 2. Merrill, M; 3. Olivia Hawkins, V.
•  U-18 boys: 1. Archie Milligan, M, 28.57; 2. Andy Rockwell, M; 3. Dylan Rapoport, V.
•  U-8 girls: 1. M. Poduschnick, M, 24.39; 2. E. Brooks, V; 3. S. Chance, M.
•  U-8 boys: 1. Sebastian Giroux, V, 26.02; 2. Bellman, M.
•  U-10 girls: 1. Eloise Eckels, V. 23.31; 2. Amelia LaMothe, V; 3. Lily Allen, M.
•  U-10 boys: 1. W. Clark, V, 20.70; 2. Noah Smits, V.
•  U-12 girls: 1. Carlyn Rapoport, V, 20.70; 2. Harris, V; 3. Schneider, M.
•  U-12 boys: 1. McNamara, M, 43.50; 2. Conrad, V.
•  U-14 girls: 1. Staats, M, 38.40; 2. Maddie Crowne, M; 3. Doucet, V.
•  U-14 boys: 1. Adam Clark, V, 39.90; 2. A. Chance, M.
•  U-18 girls: 1. Ross, M, 36.13; 2. Hawkins, V; 3. Anna Rakowski, V.
•  U-18 boys: 1. O. Poduschnick, M, 30.78; 2. Will Carpenter, M; 3. Sausville, V.
VERGENNES CHAMP HADLEY Harris finishes the 12-and-under medley relay in first place during Tuesday’s meet with Middlebury.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell
•  U-8 girls: 1. E. Brooks, V, 19.57; 2. Petra Fearon, V; 3. Foley, M.
•  U-8 boys: 1. Jurgen Pirrung, M, 19.75; 2. F. Crary, V.
•  U-10 girls: 1. LaMothe, V, 18.31; 2. E. Orten, M; 3. Romond, V.
•  U-10 boys: 1. W. Clark, V, 14.88; 2. Tiegan Buskey, V; 3. Gabe Schmitt, M.
•  U-12 girls: 1. Harris, V, 29.43; 2. M. Giroux, V; 3. Schneider, M.
•  U-12 boys: 1. McNamara, M, 30.96; 2. Stone, M; 3. Tyler Kimball, V.
•  U-14 girls: 1. Staats, M, 29.44; 2. Rockwell, M; 3. Doucet, V.
•  U-14 boys: 1. Adam Clark, V, 29.22; 2. A. Chance, M; 3. Coffey, V.
•  U-18 girls: 1. Ross, M, 28.78; 2. Rakowski, V; 3. Jewell, V.
•  U-18 boys: 1. O. Poduschnick, M, 24.31; 2. Milligan, M; 3. Sausville, V.

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