March 2, 2015

Local Swimmers Give Stellar Performances in State Championships

Valley Shore YMCA Age Group Qualifiers include Liam Leavy, Jessica Lee, Peter Fuchs, Nick Husted in the back row, and Anna Lang, Maddy Henderson, Kayla Mendonca, Kyle Wisialowski and Kaeleigh O’Donnell in the front row.

Valley Shore YMCA Age Group Qualifiers include Liam Leavy, Jessica Lee, Peter Fuchs, Nick Husted in the back row, and Anna Lang, Maddy Henderson, Kayla Mendonca, Kyle Wisialowski and Kaeleigh O’Donnell in the front row.

Throughout the weekend of March 8-10, 11 athletes training at Valley Shore YMCA (VSYMCA) in Westbrook competed at Connecticut Swimming’s Age Group Championships.  This event is the state championship for age group swimming.

In the 10 and under age group, four girls (Kaeleigh O’Donnell of Essex, Kayla Mendonca, Anna Lang and Maddy Henderson- all from Madison) competed in individual events as well as teaming up for the medley relay where they finished fifth.  Kayla Mendonca of Madison set two team records in distance freestyle events; the 200 yard freestyle and the 500 yard freestyle.  Kayla also reset her own team record in the 100 butterfly.

In the highest finish of the meet, Kayla finished 3rd in the 500 freestyle, qualifying her to continue on to represent her state in Eastern Zone competition.  In her first year on the swim team, Anna Lang was proud to qualify for this prestigious event and swam the 50 free.  Kaeleigh O’Donnell swam the 100 yard breast stroke finishing 30th.  Maddy Henderson qualified in two backstroke events (50 yard and 100 yard) finishing 11th and 23rd.  Maddy also swam the 50 butterfly finishing 23rd.

The 10 and under girls were joined by two 10 and under boys, Daniel Chen of Madison and Kyle Wisialowski of Old Saybrook.  Dan, not having chosen his favorite stroke yet,  competed in every stroke excluding freestyle, and also both the 100 and 200 medley.  Dan’s 7th place finish in the 50 backstroke was among the best finishes on the team.  This was Kyle’s first appearance at Age Group Championships (in the 50 yard butterfly) after a winning performance at Regional Championships.

In the 12 and under age group, Liam Leavy (Ivoryton) was the only VSYMCA swimmer, but proud to boast his first age group qualification in the 50 backstroke.

The under 14 age group category boasted Mike Healey (Madison).  Mike swam the signature sprint event in swimming; the 50 freestyle as well as the 50 backstroke.  Mike also excels at the individual medley and swam both the 200 medley, and the 400 medley, widely thought to be swimming’s most grueling event.

In the 15 and up age group, the team fielded three senior members; freestylers Nick Husted (Westbrook) and Jessica Lee, as well as breaststroker Peter Fuchs both of Old Lyme.  Jessica had a top finish in the 50 freestyle, finishing in fifth place. Jessica also made the evening final in the 100 yard freestyle, finishing in 15th place.  This bodes well for Jessica’s next competition at the Y National Championships on April 3 in Greensboro, N.C.  Peter Fuchs set the team record in the 200 yard breaststroke.

Those interested in joining the swim team are encouraged to obtain more information about the Long Course season by visiting or calling the Valley Shore YMCA at 860 399-9622. Tryouts will be held in mid-April for the season which runs through to Long Course Age Group Championships in late July.

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The Valley-Shore Y Helps Children and Teens in Need of a Safe Place to Go After School

When the bell rings at the end of the school day, children and teens need a safe and nurturing place to go when their parents are still at work or away from home. According to the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness advocacy organization, 15.1 million children nationwide and 28 percent of children in Connecticut alone are left unsupervised after 3 p.m., responsible for taking care of themselves. As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y offers quality afterschool programs that not only help youth learn, grow and thrive, but keep them safe and surrounded by caring adults.

Combining play with academics, the Y’s afterschool programs fill gaps in schools and in the Shoreline by offering enrichment through arts, music, physical education, sports and nutrition. Youth in the Valley-Shore YMCA’s afterschool program receive homework assistance and can engage in sports, arts and other activities.

“When the school bell rings, learning does not have to end,” said Richard Ward, Youth development Director, Valley-Shore YMCA. “The Valley-Shore Y’s afterschool program is a great way to keep children and teens not only safe, but engaged in fun and productive activities.”

Studies show that participation in afterschool programs helps boost school attendance and academic performance, and helps to alleviate achievement gaps among children from disadvantaged households. Youth who attend afterschool are known to perform better academically and develop skills such as self-regulation, communication, problem solving, team building, negotiation and critical thinking. It’s also a healthy way for children and teens to stay active and productive when the school day ends.

The Valley-Shore YMCA offers afterschool programs at 8 different school sites along the towns in the Shoreline and River Valley Area: Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Chester, Deep River and Essex. Financial assistance is available to those in need, to ensure every child and teen has the opportunity to learn and grow at the Y.

For more information about the Valley-Shore Y’s afterschool program, please contact Kathy Scholl, School Age Director, at 860-399-9622.

Valley Regional High School Field Hockey Team Run to Support Local Scholarship Fund

The Valley Regional High School Field Hockey Team will run en masse in support of Old Saybrook High School and Westbrook High School Scholarship Fund at the 2nd Annual Saybrook Point 5K Road Race on Saturday August 27, 2011- 7:30am – 10:30 am.

This road race is the first in a series of awareness and fundraising events to benefit the community and the Valley Regional High School Field Hockey team.

For more details contact Stella Beaudoin at 860-304-7081  or email her at

Local Swimmers Place Well in Long Course Regional Championships

Marlins Specialists from left to right: Peter Fuchs (breaststroke), Michael Iranpour (backstroke) and Nick Husted (freestyle). All three hold team records. (Photo courtesy of Carol Himsel Daly).

The Valley-Shore Y Marlins competed in the 2011 Long Course Regional Championships July 9-11 at pools in Middletown and East Hartford.

Fifteen swimmers in the 12 and under age group swam at Odessa pool in East Hartford.

Local swimmers placing among the top finishers were:

  • Daniel Griffith of Old Saybrook (10th place in the male 10/under 50 meter butterfly, 1:02.90)
  • Alexis Henry of Old Saybrook (8th place female 15-18, 100 meter freestyle, 1:07.25)
  • Nick Husted of Old Saybrook (1st place male 13-14, 800 meter freestyle, 10:21.00, 3rd place 14/under, 200 meter freestyle. 2:19.25 and 8th place, 14/under, 100 meter freestyle, 1:06.71)

Other local swimmers also among the top 10 finishers were Kim Berardis of Deep River (7th place female 10/under, 50 meter butterfly, 48.27, and 10th place 50 meter backstroke, 47.68), Liam Leavy of Ivoryton (2nd place in the male 200 meter individual medley, 4:00.86, 7th place in the 10/under 50 meter freestyle, 41.46, 8th place in both the 10/under 100 meter freestyle, 1:32.40, and 200 meter freestyle, 3:18.56, and 9th place in the 10/under 50 meter backstroke, 50.37), Sam Fuchs of Old Lyme (3rd place in 3 events: male 10/under 50 meter breaststroke, 53.07, 10/under, 100 meter backstroke, 1:42.07, 10/under 50 meter backstroke, 48.64, 6th place in the 10/under 200 meter freestyle, 3:15.74, and 7th place in the 10/under 100 meter freestyle, 1:32.08), Erin-Katherine Daly of Ivoryton (8th place female 15-18, 200 meter backstroke, 2:48.77), Daniel Chen of Madison (1st place male 10/under 100 meter butterfly, 1:49.18, 10/under 50meter butterfly, 53.09, 10th place 10/under 200 meter freestyle, 3:27.09), Amelia Haney of Essex (6th place female 15-15, 100 meter butterfly, 1:16.67), Kayla Mendonca of Madison, (1st place female 10/under 100 meter butterfly, 1:37.01, 3rd place in both the 10/under 200 meter freestyle, 3:05.15, and 200 meter individual medley, 3:30.74 and 8th place in the 10/under 100 meter breaststroke, 1:58.98) Hannah Smyth of Madison (9th place in the female 12/under 200 meter freestyle, 2:45.78).

Also competing were Guilford brothers Robert and Bill May, Gabriella Wira of Madison, Liam Ber and Christine Gallagher from Westbrook, and Anna Daly of Ivoryton.

Daniel Chen’s and Kayla Mendonca’s performances in their 100 meter butterfly qualified them to swim in the Connecticut Long Course Age Group Championships later this month. Kayla, age 8, now holds the team record in the 10/under girls 100 meter butterfly .

Thirteen swimmers in the 13-18 age group swam at the Freeman Athletic Center at Wesleyan University. Among those placing in the top ten was Peter Fuchs of Old Lyme (8th place, male 14/under, 100 meter backstroke, 1:18.08, and 9th place 14/under, 200 meter individual medley, 2:46.43).

Jessica Lee of Old Lyme also competed at Wesleyan.  Other local swimmers also competing were Kerry Brock and Danielle LaMay of Old Saybrook; Stephanie Gallagher of Westbrook;  and Davide Mendonca, Alexis Valentin and Callie Weiler, all of Madison.

Swimming in the male 15-18, 100 meter backstroke, high school sophomore Michael Iranpour of Guilford achieved a best time of 1:14.97, and now holds the team record for this event.

The Marlins are ending their summer long course season this month with swimmers qualified for both the Long Course Connecticut Senior Championships July 15-18 and the Age Group Championships on July 23-25. Both meets will be swum at Wesleyan.

Valley–Shore Y Marlins Swim Team Compete in Boston

Eighteen swimmers from the Valley Shore Y Marlins qualified to compete in the 2011 YMCA New England Championship in Boston on March 25 – 27.

Head Coach Pat Callahan and Assistant Coach Megan Renzoni kept their swimmers focused on racing in a meet that included 2,059 swimmers from 86 Y’s throughout New England. Their efforts came to fruition with Marlins placing in the overall top 10 and achieving personal best times in all age groups.

In the 8 and under age group, Madison swimmers Daniel Chen placed 3rd in the 25Y backstroke (18.93), 4th in the 100Y IM (1:31.91) and also finished the 25Y butterfly with a best time (18.27). Kayla Mendonca placed 2nd in the 100Y IM (1:27.03) and 9th in the 25Y backstroke (18.82) and a personal best in the 25Y butterfly (18.05). Also competing were Essex’s Tory Rider in the 25Y breaststroke (23.30) and Madison’s Madeline Henderson with a best time (19.49) in 25Y backstroke.

For the 9/10 yr old age group, Taylor Gray of Old Lyme placed 6th in the 100Y breaststroke (1:27.61) and also raced the 100Y IM (1:22.07) and 50Y breaststroke achieving a best time (41.81).  Chris Thomson of Old Saybrook placed 8th in the 100Y butterfly (1:22.28) and swam his personal best in the 50Y fly event (36.40). Elizabeth Beckman of Ivoryton achieved personal best times in the 100Y (1:07.20) and in the 50Y (31.35) freestyle. Claudia Mergy raced her personal best in the 50Y breaststroke (41.84).

Swimming in the 11/12 yr old age group, Peter Fuchs of Old Lyme placed 2nd in the 50Y (32.34) and 3rd in the 100Y (1:11.77) breaststroke events and also raced the 50Y freestyle (28.72). Mike Healey of Madison placed 7th in the 200IM (2:29.80) and had best times in both the 50Y butterfly (31.39) and 200Y free (2:13.28).

14 yr old Jessica Lee of Old Lyme raced into 3rd place in the 50Y freestyle (25.42) and competed in the 100Y freestyle (58.03) and 100Y fly (1:08.79).  Michael Iranpour of Guilford placed 7th in both the 50Y freestyle (24.32) and 100Y backstroke (1:01.37) and 9th in the 100Y freestyle (53.50). Old Saybrook swimmers Nick Husted swam his best time in the 200Y freestyle (2:02.96) and Jillian Rastinejad raced the 100Y backstroke taking more than a second off her previous best time (1:08.23).

All 4 swimmers in the 15-18 yr old age group achieved 100 percent best times in all races, an accomplishment with which they and coaches Callahan and Renzoni are very proud. Erin-Katherine Daly of Ivoryton placed 7th in the 100Y backstroke (1:02.81) and raced a personal best in the 50Y freestyle (26.40). Graduating senior Amelia Haney of Essex swam best times in the 50Y freestyle (27.33) and 100Y butterfly (1:05.18). Old Saybrook’s Alexis Henry placed 10th in the 200Y freestyle (2:03.74) and raced to her best in the 100Y (56.96) and 50Y (26.02) freestyle events. Caius Mergy of Old Lyme set his new best time in the 100Y breaststroke (1:07.30).

The New England YMCA Championships is the largest swim meet held in New England and was held at New England’s largest swimming facility, Blodgett Pool at Harvard University. According to Richard Whitworth, the gentleman who has run this meet since 1976, the competition has been held every year since the early 1930’s. The New England YMCA Championships not only showcases excellent individual swimming talent but also the team sportsmanship that is characteristic of the YMCA and its core principles of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility for all. This championship has included several Olympians whose meet records still stand. 

The Valley-Shore Y Marlins Swim Team is a co-educational program for swimmers between the ages of 6 and 18. Registration for the Long Course season is underway. Prospective team members are encouraged to be evaluated by a coach on April 12 or 13. For more information about the Marlins, visit the team website

Saint John School Boys’ Basketball Teams Head to New England Championships

Saint John School Boys Varsity Basketball team. L-R (Back) - Coach Carroll, Paul Garrity, Patrick Faria, Colin Morris, Tyler Boland, Matt Schofield, Coach Baldassaro. L-R (Front) – Gus Cummins, Peter Drabinski, Jeremy Isenberg, Chris Barrett, James Kolb, Keenan Hally

Old Saybrook, CT – Following first place victories in both the Varsity and JV levels at the 2011 Diocese of Norwich Basketball Tournament held on March 19 & 20, the Saint John School boys’ teams will advance to the New England CYO Championships on April 1-3 in New Hampshire.

The JV team defeated St. Patrick’s of Norwich in the end-of-season tournament championship game by a score of 42 – 24.  This St. John team has an outstanding record of 15-2 this season.  (see JV photo & names)

The Varsity Eagles came away with a hard-fought win 57-46, also against a St. Patrick’s of Norwich team.  This
battle of will and determination was lead by Paul Garrity with 18 points, Colin Morris with 14 points, and the tremendous ball handling skills of Jeremy Isenberg.  Hard work, great sportsmanship, and a true team effort brought about the victory.  (see Varsity photo & names)

Saint John School in Old Saybrook serves all children in grades Pre-K3 through 8.  The school specializes in “Educating the Whole Child” through academics, sports, religion, community and arts.  For more information, please call 860-388-0849.

St. John School Boys JV Basketball team L to R (front): Dominic Reynolds, William Curran, Connel Henderson, Lucas Morris, Shane Henderson, Mark Schoonmaker, Molly Henderson. L to R (back): Coach Frank Henderson, Olyn Fredericks, Brian Poeschl, Luke Schoonmaker, Jack Schoonmaker, Kevin Ryff, Noah Kagel, Jobe Finnegan, Owen Curran, Michael Lavallee, and Coach Scott Schoonmaker.

US Power Squadron Basic Boating Class

The Saybrook Sail & Power Squadron will be offering a basic boating class on March 29 starting at 6.30 p.m.

 The cource covers finding your way, handling in bad weather, laws & requirements, unseen hazards, and lots of practical information.  Passage qualifies the individual for any State’s safe boater’s certificate.  Thus course istaught nationwide to thousands sailors and is “strongly recommended” by the Connecticut D.E.P. as one of the best. 

 A bargain for $45.00, which includes an excellent manual. For more info contact Capt. John McCarthy, 1-860-399-2439 (

The Saybrook Sail & Power Squadron, which is an affiliate of the national U.S. Power Squadrons, is a non-profit organization dedicated to education toward safer boating.   More information about their activities can be found at

Local Swimmers Make Major Contribution to YMCA Marlins Championship Success

Taking a well-earned moment of rest are Marlins coach Patrick Callahan (standing) with his four senior swimmers (clockwise from front), Caius Mergy, Jessica Lee, Peter Fuchs and Michael Iranpour.

The Valley Shore YMCA Marlins swim team qualified six athletes ranging from age 9 to 15 to compete in the USS Age Group Championships held in Middletown this past weekend.

Representing the 9-10 age group, Taylor Gray of Old Lyme competed in the 100 yard individual medley (IM), the 50 yard breaststroke and the 100 yard breaststroke.  She set new personal best times in the two breaststroke events.

In the 11-12 age group, Michael Healey of Madison qualified for the championship event in six events; two IMs, two freestyle events , the 50Y butterfly and the 50Y breaststroke.  He set personal records in the 200 yard freestyle, the 50 yard butterfly and the 100 yard IM.  By placing 12th in the 200 yard freestyle and 16th in the 50 yard butterfly, Healey advanced to the consolation finals in both events.

Three athletes competed in the 13-14 age group — Michael Iranpour of Madison,  Jessica Lee of Old Lyme, and Peter Fuchs, also of Old Lyme.

Iranpour set personal records and advanced to the finals in all four events that he swam (50Y freestyle, 100Y freestyle, 100Y backstroke and 200Y backstroke). 

Jessica Lee started the weekend with the highest place finish of the team: 4th in the 50 freestyle and she participated in the championship final.  This performance was a personal record, a team record, and 0.17 seconds shy of qualification for YMCA National Championships.

Peter Fuchs swam personal records in both the breaststroke events, and set a new team record in the 200 breaststroke.

Finally, Caius Mergy, of Old Lyme filled out the 15-18 age group, swimming in the 100Y and 200Y breaststroke.  He broke his own team record when he swam a personal record in the 200 breaststroke.

With three team records broken this weekend, the Marlins are swimming faster than ever.  Eighteen Marlins athletes will compete in Cambridge on March 26-27 at the Y – New England Championships. 

The Marlins are currently accepting new team members to join the Long Course season.  Call the Valley-Shore YMCA at 860 399-9622 for more information, or contact head coach Pat Callahan at

A Brand New Day: Valley-Shore YMCA Unveils New Brand Strategy to Further Community Impact

For the first time in 43 years, YMCA of the USA has unveiled a new brand strategy to increase understanding of the impact that YMCAs make in communities across the country.  The YMCA has the unique capacity to address many of the challenges facing the nation today.  Through its new brand strategy and framework, the nonprofit will extend its reach into communities to nurture the potential of youth and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being and provide opportunities to support neighbors.

The new brand strategy – the result of more than two years of analysis and research – was introduced today at a National Press Club event that included leaders from the philanthropic and nonprofit communities.  As part of the event, the YMCA unveiled a new, more forward-looking logo that reflects the vibrancy and diversity of the organization, and a framework that focuses resources on three core areas: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  In another major change, the nonprofit will be called “the Y” to align with how people most commonly refer to the organization.

“The Valley-Shore YMCA is truly excited about the new brand strategy and the opportunity to engage more people in the areas of healthy living, social responsibility and youth development,” said Paul Mohabir CEO, Valley-Shore YMCA. “There are many exciting changes taking place at the Y’ where we are building momentum, and this strategy is getting everyone from our volunteers to our members and donors very excited.”

The community can expect from the VSY’ a newly renovated gymnasium coming this August in perfect timing to compliment their new branding and newly renovated facility.  Ys across the country will fully transition to the new brand within five years.

“This is a very important, exciting time for the Y,” said Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of YMCA of the USA.  “For 160 years, we’ve focused on changing lives for the better.  Our commitment to building greater awareness for the important work we do will enable us to expand our efforts and further strengthen communities across the country.”

Today, across the United States, Ys are making a difference in three key areas of focus:

• Youth Development: Nurturing the potential of every child and teen

• Healthy Living: Improving the nation’s health and well-being

• Social Responsibility: Giving back and providing support to our neighbors
The Y’s former logo had been in place since 1967 and was the organization’s sixth since its inception. The refreshed logo, with its multiple color options and new, contemporary look, better reflects the vibrancy of the Y and the diversity of the communities it serves.  The new logo’s bold, active and welcoming shape symbolizes the Y’s commitment to personal and social progress. 
the Y

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,687 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. For more information contact the Y at 860-399-9622 or visit us on the web at