Champs swim past Marlins as all enjoy summer meet

MARLINS SWIMMER CONNOR McNamara, 17, races his way to a second-place finish in the boys’ under-18 breaststroke on Tuesday in Vergennes. Independent photo/Steve James

VERGENNES — Late on Tuesday afternoon the coaches of the Vergennes Champs and Middlebury Marlins conferred as an iffy forecast threatened the annual renewal of their teams’ friendly Champlain Valley Swim League rivalry. 

Their decision to greenlight the meet paid off as heavy weather bypassed Vergennes long enough to allow the teams and their families to enjoy an evening in and around the city pool.

For sure, the Champs enjoyed it more. They’ve been on a roll the past couple of years, winning the league in 2021 and taking second in 2022, and they splashed to a 337-119 victory over their county rivals on Tuesday.

But coaches and older swimmers — categories that overlap on both teams — are quick to point out that wins are not the highest priorities in summer swimming. 

A YOUNG VERGENNES swimmer races in an anchor leg of a medley relay early on Tuesday’s meet vs. the visiting Middlebury Marlins.
Independent photo/Steve James

Champs coach Addie Brooks, in her fourth year of coaching after 11 years as a Champ swimmer (she claims she was “never the fastest swimmer, ever”) explained why she is still with the program, mostly working with the younger swimmers. 

“It’s so much fun. For a while I was saying it was my family. My sister (Ellie, 13) is still on the team,” Brooks said. “And now I’ve built a presence here. I’ve built a group of kids I love and who love me back. It just keeps me coming back. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my summer.”

Marlins swimmer Aidan Chance, 18, is currently one of the team’s top swimmers and plans to swim at Chicago’s Illinois Tech this coming academic year. He is also assisting Marlins Coach Colleen Rueppel this summer, and he tells a similar tale. 

“It’s always the highlight of my summer. I’m always glad to do it, and I’m really happy to coach. It’s great to help the younger kids develop their strokes and see them improve so much over the course of the season,” Chance said. “We have kids who are struggling, struggling, and then all of a sudden they get it. That’s awesome.”


Another accomplished swimmer is the Champs’ Carlyn Rapoport, 17, who is assisting Brooks and the other Vergennes coaches this summer and plans to swim at St. Lawrence University this coming year. 

She echoed Brooks and Chance. 

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to really meet these kids and learning more about them and help them out … It makes me feel really proud of them. Each meet I see them get better and improve,” she said. “Being able to coach is making it a lot better. I feel more connected to my team, and it’s been more fun. I’ve had fun with it throughout all my years, but this has been the best.”

What makes it so much fun, though?

Brooks said even though she didn’t win races she always enjoyed being part of the team. 

“It was hard to keep coming back when I was losing. But the community and this team has never been always about winning,” she said. “We have always been about having fun and building that community. So the reason that I kept coming back and stayed so long is because we have that. We have the ability to retain swimmers who aren’t the fastest, but who appreciate that they are part of our team.”

Rapoport sounded a similar theme when asked what kept her coming back. She, like Chance, also swims with a more competitive winter program. 

“Just meeting the people and the supportive community is my favorite thing, probably,” she said. “Winter is more competitive, but I like the summer because you get to have more fun with it. It keeps me enjoying it.”

Chance confessed to being bribed to stick with it early on.

“It was the candy my parents gave me after practice. That was the driving factor the first year,” he said. “I was pretty bad for a while, and then I started taking it seriously.”

Now, Chance said, “I love swimming, and I love the atmosphere.”  


Rueppel said summer coaches are aware they need to keep things light given the options the season presents. 

“We just want them to have fun, because it’s a huge chunk of their summer,” Rueppel said.


Champs and Marlins scoring points for their teams with top-three finishes were;


• U-8 girls: 1. Mabelle Fidalgo, V, 27.62.

• U-8 boys: 1. Riker Cooley, V, 27.59; 2. Rhett Cooke, V.

• U-10 girls: 1. Cassandra Bellman, M, 19.47; 2. Vivian Romond, V; 3. Lydia Bearor, V.

• U-10 boys: 1. Felix Poduschnick, M, 17.9; 2. Tobin Howell, V; 3. Brantley Cooke, V.

• U-12 girls: 1. Jordan Hutchins, V, 33.65; 2. L. Husk, V; 3. Mitzi Poduschnick, M.

• U-12 boys: 1. Connor Husk, V, 33.34; 2. Flint Crary, V; 3. Con. Bellman, M.

• U-14 girls: 1. Sadie Chance, M, 31.03; 2. Ella Bearor, V; 3. Sophia James, V.

• U-14 boys: 1. Noah Smits, V, 29.43; 2. Khanlen Ouimette, V; 3. Jorgen Pirrung, M.

• U-18 girls: 1. Acadia Clark, V, 29.81; 2. Carlyn Rapoport.

• U-18 boys: 1. Aidan Chance, M, 27.44.

MARLINS SWIMMER SADIE Chance, 13, won three under-14 races in the Vergennes pool on Tuesday evening.
Independent photo/Steve James


• U-8 girls: 1. Margaret Smits, V, 27.84; 2. Mary Mcguire, V; 3. Vela Remaniak, M.

• U-8 boys: 1. Evan Angier, V, 24.22; 2. R. Cooley; 3. Joseph Kafumbe, M.

• U-10 girls: 1. Emry Mosehauer, V, 20.22; 2. Juliette Angier, V; 3. Bianca Spafford, M.

• U-10 boys: 1. Brantley Cooke, V, 21.53; 2. Enli Parrillo, V; 3. Harvey Bishop, M.

• U-12 girls: 1. Lauren Husk, V, 36.25; 2. Reese Muzzy, V; 3. Camry Miner, M.

• U-12 boys: 1. C. Husk, V, 38.94; 2. Adrien Ralph, V. 44.56; 3. Ben Phinney, M.

• U-14 girls: 1. Ella Romond, V, 34.10; 2. Ellie Brooks, V: 3. Elisabeth Rockwell, M.

• U-14 boys: 1. Cohen Howell, V, 34.50; 2. K. Ouimette, V.

• U-18 girls: 1. A. Clark, V, 33.82; 2. Madelyn Giroux, V.

• U-18 boys: 1. A Chance, M, 28.25; 2. Connor McNamara, M; 3. Calder Rakowski, V.

HAPPY CHAMPS SWIMMER Margaret Smits, 7, emerges victorious from the water after winning the girls’ under-8 backstroke in the Vergennes pool on Tuesday evening.
Independent photo/Steve James


• U-8 girls: 1. M. Fidalgo, V, 31.59.

• U-10 girls: 1. Scarlett Giroux, 21.94; 2. Cass. Bellman; 3. E. Mosehauer.

• U-10 boys: 1. F. Poduschnick, M, 23.90; 2. E. Parrillo, V; 3. Martin Gee, V.

• U-12 girls: 1. J. Hutchins, V: 2. M. Poduschnick, M; 3. Cecilia Neffinger, V.

• U-12 boys: 1. Con. Bellman, M, 42.15; 2. F. Crary, V; 3. Henry Cadoret, M.

• U-14 girls: 1. S. Chance, M, 36.75; 2. S. James, V; 3. Ellie Eckels, V.

• U-14 boys: 1. N. Smits, V, 34.06; 2. C. Howell, V: 3. Jorgen Pirrung, M.

• U-18 girls: 1. C. Rapoport, V, 35.5; 2. M. Giroux, V.

• U-18 boys: 1. A. Chance, M, 33.9; 2. C. McNamara, M; 3. Alex Henry, V.

MIDDLEBURY SWIMMER JORGEN Pirrung, seen here in the breaststroke, placed in three races in the Vergennes pool on Tuesday evening.
Independent photo/Steve James


• U-8 girls: 1. M. Fidalgo, V, 21.1; 2. Zoey Kress, V; 3. V. Remaniak, M.

• U-8 boys: 1. R. Cooley, V; R. Cooke, V; 3. J. Kafumbe, M.

• U-10 girls: 1. S. Giroux, V, 17.6; 2. J. Angier, V: 3. Cass. Bellman, M.

• U-10 boys: 1. F. Poduschnick, M, 15.44; 2. Morgan Wesley, V: 3. B. Cooke, V.

• U-12 girls: 1. L. Husk, V, 31.15; 2. M. Poduschnick, M; 3. J. Hutchins, V.

• U-12 boys: 1. F. Crary, 29.59; 2. C. Husk, V; 3. H. Cadoret, M.

• U-14 girls: 1. S. Chance, M, 28.62; 2. E. Bearor, V; 3. E. Romond, V.

• U-14 boys: 1. C. Howell, V, 26.15; Noah Smits, V; 3. J. Pirrung, M.

• U-18 girls: 1. C. Rapoport, V, 28.75; 2. Nola Roberts, V.

• U-18 boys: 1 A. Chance, M, 24.53; 2. C. McNamara, M; 3. C. Rakowski, V.

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