Champs top Marlins in friendly swim meet

THREE VERGENNES CHAMPS DIVE off the blocks in the Boys’ Under-14 freestyle race in the Middlebury pool on Tuesday. Pictured, left to right are Joey Maneen, Noah Smits and Will Clark, all 13. Clark won the race.

MIDDLEBURY — While adults alternately chatted, cheered and cooled off under sun umbrellas on a steamy summer night, young swimmers from the host Middlebury Marlins and the Vergennes Champs on Tuesday renewed their friendly rivalry in Middlebury’s town pool.

Summer swimming might be best measured in smiles, improving times and techniques and camaraderie — there were big cheers for one youngster who made the length of the pool in competition apparently for the first time.

But times are kept and points tallied, and when scorekeepers had finished that task the defending state champion Vergennes team had prevailed, 301-157. The Champs improved to 4-1 in the Champlain Valley Swim League, while the Marlins, who won a statewide small-team division in 2021, remained in search of their first win of the summer.

MIDDLEBURY MARLIN MITZI Poduschnick, 11, swims in the 50-yard breaststroke in Tuesday’s Champlain Valley Swim League meet vs. Vergennes. She finished third in the race.

Coaches from both teams talked not about wins and losses, but about making sure their swimmers enjoyed the experience.

Marlins Head Coach Colleen Rueppel has seen the team’s ranks swell this summer to about 85, but many are novice swimmers. She and her co-coaches are enjoying introducing them to the sport.

“They’re still learning how it works and everything. So we’re having fun. It’s been a good summer,” Rueppel said.

At the same time there are talented, experienced Marlins who the coaches are helping to hone their skills, particularly older swimmers like Holly Staats, Aidan Chance, Connor McNamara, Natalie Rockwell and Nora Wootten. Those swimmers also have taken leadership roles, Rueppel said.

VERGENNES CHAMPS SWIMMER Ella Romond, 13, competes in the 50-yard butterfly in Middlebury on Tuesday. Romond won that race and two others in the meet.

“They’ve really stepped up and helped with the younger kids,” Rueppel said. “They’re great leaders.”

A number of the younger swimmers have also excelled, and the coaches have balanced developing the newcomers’ basic skills and enhancing the abilities of the more experienced swimmers.

“We’ve developed a strategy with the coaching staff I have this year to see who the stronger ones are and maybe have a different practice,” Rueppel said.

Champs coaches echoed Rueppel about emphasizing the enjoyment part of the summer swim experience.

“It’s been a fun year for these guys. We have a lot of new swimmers, a lot of returning swimmers,” said Champs Coach Bill Clark. “Luckily we haven’t lost many swimmers, so we’re still building as a team, so it’s been a good year for us.”

VERGENNES CHAMP SOPHIA James, 12, swims in Tuesday’s 200-yard medley relay in Middlebury. The Champs won most of the relays, but the host Marlins prevailed in this one.

Retaining older swimmers has allowed the Champs to create a meet buddy system. Coach Addie Brooks, until a couple years ago a Champ senior swimmer, said that is working well, with the younger swimmers quickly learning to rely on the team’s veterans to learn when their next race was and where to go next. She added the process bonded the team.

“They caught up with each other and made sure they had their meet buddies,” Brooks said. “All of a sudden they were going to the older swimmers, who were helping them out, which was fantastic.”

Clark also said the Champs have been able to keep swimmers around by maintaining team traditions, like night swims, team-wide sno-cone awards for dropping time and a tie-dye event.

The Champs give older swimmers responsibilities, Clark said, with a team leadership group as well as coaching duties when they are ready for them. The group also just painted pool picnic tables and helps plan those team events, Clark added.

“It’s great having these older swimmers engaged. It’s almost like community service back to the team,” he said. “They have a purpose besides just swimming on the team, and I think that keeps them happy and coming back.”

MIDDLEBURY MARLINS SWIMMER Cassandra Bellman, 8, competes during Tuesday’s meet in Middlebury. Bellman won two races and was second in another.


In the Middlebury pool on Tuesday, The Champs racked up points by winning 11 relays to five for the Marlins.

Swimmers scoring points for their teams with top-three finishes in individual races were:


  • U-8 girls: 1. Cassandra Bellman, M, 22.62; 2. Lydia Bearor, V.
  • U-8 boys: 1. Paul Foley, V, 18.15; 2. Felix Poduschnick, M.
  • U-10 girls: 1. Jordan Hutchins, V, 17.88; 2. Juliette Angier, V.
  • U-10 boys: 1. Connor Husk, V, 16.46; 2. Skyler James, V; 3. Henry Cadoret, M.
  • U-12 girls: 1. Sadie Chance, M, 32,34; 2. Aurora Foley, V; 3. Sophia James, V.
  • U-12 boys: 1. Khanlen Ouimette, V, 36.32; 2. Constantin Bellman, M.
  • U-14 girls: 1. Ella Romond, V, 40.53.
  • U-14 boys: 1. Noah Smits, V, 30.12; 2. Will Clark, V.
  • U-18 girls: 1. Holly Staats, M, 29.57; 2. Acadia Clark, V; 3. Nora Wootten, M.
  • U-18 boys: 1. Aidan Chance, M, 26.20; 2. Luke Davis, V; 3. Connor McNamara, M.


  • U-8 girls: 1. Scarlet Giroux, V, 26.34; 2. Dorothy Krahn, M; 3. Adalyn Gingras, V.
  • U-8 boys: 1. P. Foley, V, 21.66; 2. Cooley Riker, V; 3. Evan Hill, M.
  • U-10 girls: 1. J. Hutchins, V, 20.63; 2. J. Angier, V; 3. Eleanor O’Leary, M.
  • U-10 boys: 1. C. Husk, V, 20.10; 2. Beowulf Yarbrough, 23.01; 3. Gavin Krahn.
  • U-12 girls: 1. A. Foley, V, 35.02; 2. Ellie Brooks, V; 3. Fiona Mackey, M.
  • U-12 boys: 1. K. Ouimette, V, 39.44; 2. Alejandro Ramos, V.
  • U-14 girls: 1. E. Romond, V, 36.66; 2. Elizabeth Rockwood, M.
  • U-14 boys: 1. W. Clark, V, 29.58; 2. Maxwell Goodfellow, V.
  • U-18 girls: 1. Natalie Rockwell, M, 32.93; 2. Carlyn Rapoport, V; 3. Bee Eckels, V.
  • U-18 boys: 1. L. Davis, V, 30.46.


  • U-8 girls: 1. Ca. Bellman, 25.87; 2. S. Giroux, V; 3. Mikhan Ouimette, V.
  • U-8 boys: 1. P. Foley, V, 21.75; 2. F. Poduschnick, M; 3. Martin Gee, V.
  • U-10 girls: 1. J. Hutchins, V, 21.51; 2. Emry Mosehauer, V.
  • U-10 boys: 1. Sk. James, V, 23.33; 2. Weston Kittredge, V; 3. Weston Wright, M.
  • U-12 girls: 1. S. Chance, M, 37.82; 2. So. James, V; 3. Mitzi Poduschnick.
  • U-12 boys: 1. Co. Bellman, 44.32; 2. Jorgen Pirrung, M.
  • U-14 girls: 1. Ellie Eckels, 42.6; 2. Lily Allen, M.
  • U-14 boys: 1. Clark Crary, V, 32.96; 2. N. Smits, V.
  • U-18 girls: 1. C. Rapoport, V, 35.08; 2. N. Wootten, M; 3. A. Clark, V.
  • U-18 boys: 1. A. Chance, M, 33.15; 2. C. McNamara, M; 3. Grey Fearon, V.


  • U-8 girls: 1. Lydia Bearor, 19.81; 2. Ca. Bellman, M; 3. Sc. Giroux, V.
  • U-8 boys: 1. P. Foley, V, 14.57; 2. F. Poduschnick, M; 3. Wyatt Hill, M.
  • U-10 girls: 1. J. Hutchins, V, 15.75; 2. Kendall Kittredge, V; 3. Cecily O’Leary, M.
  • U-10 boys: 1. C. Husk, V, 15.3; 2. W. Kittredge, V; 3. Matthew Del Grieco, M.
  • U-12 girls: 1. S. Chance, M, 30.15; 2. A. Foley, V; 3. So. James, V.
  • U-12 boys: 1. J. Pirrung, V, 30.39; 2. K. Ouimette, V; 3. A. Ramos, V.
  • U-14 girls: 1. E. Romond, V, 31.52; 2. Nava Glikman, M; 3. L. Allen, M.
  • U-14 boys: 1. W. Clark, V, 24.71; 2. Cohen Howell, V.
  • U-18 girls: 1. N. Rockwell, M, 27.94; 2. B. Eckels, V; 3. A. Clark, V.
  • U-18 boys: 1. A. Chance, M, 24.23; 2. L. Davis, V; 3. C. McNamara, M.

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