The YMCA of Montclair Dolphins swimmers finished the 2021-22 short-course season on an upbeat note at two competitions in North Carolina.

“Our swimmers are getting better not only in terms of seconds but also in learning to convert big dreams into long-term goals by developing personal plans and — most importantly — executing these plans daily step by step,” Alex Boutov, director of competitive swimming, said.

“It is the best reward for the coaches to see our youth succeed in planning their future and making their dreams come true in and out of the water.”

Nead Kojic and Leo Powers swam in the 2022 Short Course YMCA Nationals, the final competition and pinnacle of the season. 

This year, 169 teams were represented from across the United States at the meet held in Greensboro, North Carolina, from March 28 to April 1.

Kojic, 16, raced in the men’s 100-yard breaststroke and ranked 80th, the highest placing for the Dolphins at the national level this year. Powers, 17, raced in the men’s 100-yard fly, placing 83rd. All-arounder Powers also swam the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard breaststroke.

Both swimmers qualified for the 2022 Long Course YMCA Nationals later this year.

They will be joined by fellow Dolphin Colin Ko, 15. Ko smashed his personal best in the finals of the boys 14-and-over 100-yard breast stroke in the penultimate event of the season, the Sunkissed Invitational Championships in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Ko placed 12th in the finals after swimming 1:00.24 in the preliminaries, 4.8 seconds faster than his previous best and a qualifying time for the YMCA Nationals.

Vicky Sluk, 12, was the top-placed swimmer of the 18 Dolphins who raced at the Sunkissed Invitational from March 24 to 27. Sluk placed sixth in the girls 13-and-under 200-yard fly, cutting 6.23 seconds from her personal best with a time of 2:34.84. 

She put in a superb all-around performance, placing 10th in the 200-yard backstroke, 11th in the 100-yard individual medley, 12th in the 100-yard backstroke and 14th in the 200-yard individual medley.

Other swimmers who placed in the top 20 in their events in Charlotte for the girls were Sefina Morrison, 13, Charlotte Roeland, 12, and Sara Search, 13. For the boys, Sam Holbech, 12, had a top-20 finish.

The Dolphins are back in the pool at the YMCA of Montclair after a short break, as training begins in earnest for the long-course season.

— Information courtesy of YMCA of Montclair, by Simon Webb