Beaufort Today -

Tiger Sharks take sixth at YMCA state meet

Mary Eklund’s first winter season as coach of Beaufort’s YMCA youth swimming team, the Tiger Sharks was in her mind, a success.

For many of her swimmers, the season culminated two weeks ago at SC Rays CYSL Winter Championships Meet which is held in Rock Hill. The Tiger Sharks finished sixth in the state out of 16 teams and qualified 13 swimmers for the regional championships, which consists of YMCA swimmers from Ga., S.C., N.C., Tenn., and Va. The regionals are scheduled for March 23-26.

“[Rock Hill] was a really good meet. A lot of our swimmers had never been to a swim meet this big so it was good experience for them,” Eklund said. “Our swimmers got a lot of visibility with seeing what’s next for them. Our older swimmers got an idea of what level competition is expected of their age so they can step it up rather than saying, ‘I’m just gonna show up.’ Our younger swimmers are looking up and saying, ‘We want to get there.”

Among the 13-14 year olds – the oldest group – Alexia Goucher, Melanie Schiller, Gabriel Castaneda, Witt Compton, Cameron Hussmann, Samuel Marrero and Spencer Shivers all qualified in at least one event for the Upper Southeastern YMCA Regional Championships.

Lily Bostwick and Antonio Day accomplished the same among the 11-12 group. And Susan Cushman, Eli Summa and Will Bostwick qualified in the 9-10 group.

Eklund says she thinks her program is just scratching the surface of what it can accomplish.

“We’re going to continue to grow. Our program is doing nothing but growing. A lot of these swimmers are just now finding out what it means to compete,” she said. “Most of our Shark pups actually participated in swim meets and got a taste of it this winter season and they’re very excited to swim this summer season.”

“But it was just a good overall winter season; I’m looking forward to our summer season,” Eklund said.

Registration for the Tiger Sharks summer season is now open.