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YMCA Dolphins have successful inaugural season

Twenty-two swimmers from Oneida, Canstota, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill and Chittenango have brought the sport to the Oneida YMCA.

In its inaugural season, the YMCA Dolphins squad already has one swimmer heading to the state competition in Buffalo with several others within seconds of qualifying.

Marc Toro, from Oneida, qualified for the state meet in 100 yard breaststroke, his favorite event.

"Before, I didn't have any goals. It's a new thing. I didn't know what was going to happen," the 13 year old said.

Toro has been swimming for three years overall and has enjoyed the races and competing against other teams.

"It's been fun. I've been improving on my swimming," he said.

Coach Emily Zitzmann said she felt that it was time to have a team in the area.

"This is a huge swimming area, especially Oneida," Zitzmann said. "I think its just going to keep growing. It's just a good program for any kids that wants to compete."

The team ranges in ages, from eight to 16, and Zitzmann said she has seen growth and progress in all the swimmers.

"I think its been amazing. It's a good group and they're all hardworking," she said. "You can see the change in the kids from the beginning of the season."

For 11-year-old Kacey Engler of Vernon she said that swim team provides her an opportunity to just simply be in the water.

"I just like swimming anytime," Engler said.

It's also given her a chance to meet new friends, which 11-year-old Jillian Yardley of Oneida also enjoyed.

"I like being able to swim with my friends and I've met a couple of new friends," Yardley said.

Yardley, who has been swimming since she was three, wanted to drop her time in freestyle and butterfly. She said that she thought the season went pretty well.

"I think it was successful since it's the first season. We've even gotten compliaments from other coaches," she added.

Nine-year-old Olivia Caroli from Oneida also had a goal of improving in the backcrawl and freestyle.

"I've gotten better and better," she said. "I want to get more competitive. I love it."

For anyone interested in swim team, Zitzmann has one piece of advice:

"We are here. Come and try it."

For more information, visit oneidadolphins.weebly.com.

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