Young Marlins enjoy summer season

DESPITE TUESDAY’S POSTPONEMENT in Vergennes, the Middlebury Marlins Swim Team coaching staff puts on a happy face. The coaches said the team had a good turnout of younger swimmers this summer and is enjoying the season. Pictured, left to right, in the rear are Ellie Ross, Head Coach Colleen Rueppel and Oliver Poduschnick; front, Lucy Townend and Maddie McKean. Independent photo/Steve James

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Marlins picked up their second summer win on Thursday, July 15, by edging visiting Winooski, 206-185, in a Champlain Valley Swim League meet.

The outcome remained in doubt as the meet was nip and tuck throughout, and the score was tied entering the meet-ending freestyle relays. There, the Marlins clinched the victory by winning five of seven relay races, a 21-point swing.

Ava Schneider and Oliver Poduschnick paced the Marlins with three wins apiece, and Cassandra Bellman, Sadie Chance and Holly Staats each won two races.

Team officials noted many Marlins posted season-best times. The 2-3 Marlins also visited unbeaten Vergennes on Tuesday, but that meet was called off just as it was set to begin.

First one thunderclap sounded, then enough kept coming along to prevent the meet from starting. With radar showing a big storm on the way, organizers opted to postpone the duel between the friendly local teams until Thursday, July 29.

The delay gave Marlins Coach Colleen Rueppel and Poduschnick, at 18 and swimming the last of his dozen years for the Marlins and also this year acting as an assistant coach, a chance to talk about the season and the team.

Many of Poduschnick’s age peers have drifted off to other summer activities, but he’s stuck with the Marlins, as well as swum for more competitive winter teams.

“It’s just a fun environment, and I just love swimming in the summer,” Poduschnick said. “I love going to the meets and seeing all my friends, and then when you swim it’s a lot of fun.”

He has other reasons for staying with the team.

“I’ve just always enjoyed it, and it’s been my summer workout,” said Poduschnick. “I like having a routine in the summer, and that’s something swimming really gives me.”

Coaching makes it even more fun, he said, and he hopes to return next summer to help coach the Marlins again (something Rueppel said she would welcome).

“It’s different coaching this year than swimming,” Poduschnick said. “This year I get to meet a lot of the younger kids and work with them. That’s definitely a good thing. I get to know the team a lot more by coaching.”

Meanwhile, Rueppel is encouraged because so many new younger swimmers signed on this year, bringing the Marlins’ membership to 84, the largest total of her tenure. Many are just learning now, but are developing a love of the sport and should make the Marlins more competitive in the future.

“We have a lot of swimmers who wanted to join last year, but I couldn’t accept them because of the (pandemic) limits,” Rueppel said. “They’re doing basic stroke work, stuff like that, so we’re kind of at the beginning again. But they’re still having so much fun.”

As well as dropping time, Rueppel said the Marlins’ improvement can be seen in other ways, such as completing breaststroke races without being disqualified for technical violations.

“They’re having a blast,” she said. “It’s summer swimming, and that’s what we always focus on, having fun. And especially with COVID last year it’s nice to see everybody back together again.”


Marlins scoring points for their team vs. Winooski with top-three finishes in individual events were:


• U-8 girls: 1. Cassandra Bellman, 32.47.

• U-10 boys: 1. Constantin Bellman, 17.81.

• U-12 girls: 1. Sadie Chance, 36.28.

• U-12 boys: 2. Daniel Power.

• U-14 girls: 1. Ava Schneider, 31.94.

• U-18 girls: 1. Holly Staats, 29.79; 3. Natalie Rockwell.

• U-18 boys: 1. Oliver Poduschnick, 25.58; 2. Eliot Schneider, 27.26.


• U-8 girls: 1. Dorothy Krahn, 36.12.

• U-8 boys: 3. Harvey Bishop.

• U-10 girls: 1. Nicola Power, 23.88.

• U-10 boys: 3. Reed Allen, 31.02.

• U-12 girls: 3. Abigail Hamilton, 48.12.

• U-12 boys: 1. Christopher Evans-Nash, 47.46; 2. Maverick Gardner-Wacker.

• U-14 girls: 1. Ava Schneider, 35.02; 2. Lila Cook-Yoder.

• U-18 girls: 2. Natalie Rockwell.

• U-18 boys: 1. Fraser Milligan, 28.06; 2. Aidan Chance.


• U-8 girls: 1. Cassandra Bellman, 31.11.

• U-10 boys: 3. Constantin Bellman.

• U-12 girls: 2. Sadie Chance.

• U-12 boys: 3. Jorgen Pirrung.

• U-14 girls: 3. Lila Cook-Yoder.

• U-18 girls: 1. Holly Staats, 34.81.

• U-18 boys: 1. Oliver Poduschnick, 29.24; 2. Fraser Milligan.


• U-8 girls: 1. Maylee Foley, 25.41; 2. Cassandra Bellman.

• U-8 boys: 1. Felix Poduschnick, 21.49; 3. Oakley Hunt.

• U-10 girls: 1. Sofia Manrique, 18.84; 2. Nicola Power.

• U-10 boys: 3. Constantin Bellman.

• U-12 girls: 1. Sadie Chance, 32.07.

• U-12 boys: 2. Daniel Power.

• U-14 girls: 1. Ava Schneider, 28.17.

• U-14 boys: 3. Gabriel Schmitt.

• U-18 girls: 2. Natalie Rockwell; 3. Holly Staats.

• U-18 boys: 1. Oliver Poduschnick, 22.92; 2. Eliot Schneider.

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