Liberty County’s Armed Family Services YMCA swim team, the Heat, had two swimmers qualify for the Georgia 14-and-under state championships after each placed well at last weekend’s Winter Sprinter meet at the Savannah Aquatic Center.
Jorge Melendez, 9, qualified for the state meet by posting a time of 33.05 seconds in the 50-meter free-style. He has been swimming for less than a year.
Swim coach Donna Hooe said Melendez did well in the 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter intermediate swim. She said Melendez is looking to qualify for state in the 100-, 200- and 500-meter free-style at the Winter Classic meet in January.
Sandra Scott, 12, qualified for the state championships in 13 events. Scott lowered her time in the 200-meter butterfly by 25 seconds, coming in at 2 minutes, 28.41 seconds. In the 200-meter breast-stroke race, she lowered her time by 13 seconds with a time of 2:47.72. She finished the 200-meter free-style in 2:11.26. Hooe said Scott’s time in the 200-meter butterfly ranks her sixth in the state for 11-12 year old swimmers.
"Every time Sandra swims she seems to set another team record," Hooe said.
The coach said several Heat swimmers shaved seconds off their former personal bests.
Viviana Melendez, 12, dropped five seconds off her 50-meter butterfly and won the 50-meter backstroke by posting a time of 36.8.
Brayden Huffman, 8, led the class of the 8-and-under boy swimmers in the 25-meter free-style and the 25-meter butterfly, setting new team records in the process.
"Our older swimmers, Juan Vendrell, 16, and Dan Park, 14, tried their hand at some of the shorter events that are normally not available to them and both rose to the occasion with Juan winning the 50-meter breast-stroke and both setting new team records," Hooe said.
She said the trio of new 8-and-under swimmers, Yenna Park, 6, Miranda Zopfi, 7, and Trent Huffman, 6, all swam well in the 25-meter freestyle and backstroke events.
"They each broke their previous team records," Hooe said. "Maribeth Nix, 10, Harlee Sanford, 11, and Abbey Huffman, 10, all had some solid swims and modest time drops."
Swimmer Maddie James, 12, dropped nine seconds on her 200-meter back-stroke, according to the coach and Lexie Huffman, 11, dropped 18 seconds on her 200-meter intermediate and nine seconds on her 200-meter free-style. Mikayla Zopfi, 12, shaved six seconds off her 100-meter intermediate time.
"All three had an excellent meet," said Hooe, who at 48 still competes in meets with her team.
"You are never too old to swim, compete and have fun," she said.