Clarion Co. YMCA Riversharks tie in season opener

Beau Verdill qualifies for districts in the 50-yard freestyle.
By Maureen Lavan
The Clarion County YMCA Riversharks regular season swim team opener was a showdown against Clarion’s closest rival, the Brookville Barracudas in recent dual meet action.

The Riversharks quickly started earning points in in both individual and relay events winning the girls 8 and under, boys 9 and 10, boys 11 and 12, girls 13 and 14 and the boys 15 and 18 age categories.

Top to bottom, the Clarion County YMCA swimmers had solid performances throughout the day leaving first-year coach Derek Nelson pleased with the way things are trending at the start of the season. “The results of this meet indicate we are on the right path with our training and I expect better times the further we get into our season,” he said.  “It was a fun meet. I was happy to see the swimmers cheering for their teammates, each and every race.”

The boys turned in some impressive times with multiple swimmers beating the times needed to qualify for the 2016 YMCA district meet. The boys 9 and 10 age group had a strong meet. Patrick Young qualified in the 100-yard backstroke and the 100 yard butterfly.

Bailee Verdill beat the mark for the 200-yard freestyle. Brayden Murray earned a spot in the 100-yard freestyle. All three dropped times in other events where they already qualified for Districts. Adding Jake Nowaczyk, the foursome swam a 2:27.95 in the 200-yard freestyle relay for a district qualifying race.

The boys 15 and 18, 200-yard medley relay team of Adam Bettwy, Mason Burns, Marshall Powers and Kyle Bettwy turned in impressive times and qualified for districts. Burns then went on to qualify in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Beau Verdill reached for the wall and qualified in the boys 11 and 12, 50-yard freestyle. A point of pride for the boys 8 and under age group was having all Riversharks finish in the top 12 of the 15 competitors in the 25-yard backstroke.

For the girls, the 13 and 14 age group of Brianna Warner, Alayna Murray, Lydia Seaton, Bethany Cater and Clara Gourley led the way turning in top three times in most events. Mykenzie Cox, Rachel Smith, Parker Boyden and Kendall Dunn won the girls 11 and 12 200-yard medley relay with each adding points for top times in individual events.

Scoring the points to win the girls 8 and under category were Jenna Dunn, Acacia Felmlee, Gwyn Manno, Brinley Kiskadden, Ashlyn Clark and Alicyn Burford, many of whom were competing in their first-ever swim meet.

The Clarion County YMCA Riversharks were back in the water Saturday, Dec. 19 in a tri-meet competition against State College YMCA and Juniata Valley YMCA.

The Clarion County YMCA Riversharks are a community-based swim team that emphasizes individual growth as part of a team. Boys and girls ages 5 through 18 are eligible to join. Team members come from throughout Clarion County.

For more information contact the Clarion County YMCA at 764-3400, find the Riversharks at or on Facebook: