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Piranhas in the News


Pocono Record Sports Editor
March 27, 2009 STROUDSBURG — Alex Burns thinks she's a fish. That explains why the 12-year-old spends so much time in the water. Her speciality is freestyle swimming and her enthusiasm is endless.

Burns won the 50-yard freestyle in the 11-12 age group with a time of 25.59 at the Pennsylvania YMCA State Championships last weekend at Penn State. And if she could, she would have swam back home.

"Swimming (in states) was a lot of fun. I just really wanted to win bad," Burns said. "I like the competition."

Mike Wolbert has coached the Pocono Family YMCA swim team, known as the Piranhas, since 1990. Alex is the first state champ he's had since 2002.

"Alex works hard and she had a great swim at Penn State," he said. "Everybody on our team swam well. All of our swimmers swam well and I'm really proud of all of them. Our kids practice five days a week and Alex never misses a practice."

In addition to swimming with the Piranhas, Burns swims on her intramural team at Stroudsburg Elementary Intermediate School. She's in seventh grade and is an honor student. At states, she also finished seventh in the 100-yard freestyle and was on the relay team that took fourth in the 200-yard relay.

Her efforts qualified the relay team to go swim the 200-yard relay at National YMCA Short Course Swimming and Diving Championships, which will be held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on April 6-9, and features swimmers from ages 12-18 who will all compete against each other.

The other members of the relay team are: Lena Yang, 14, Avanti Banks, 15, and Liz Jordan, 17. Banks is a student at Stroudsburg High School and Yang attends East Stroudsburg South. Jordan is a senior at Pocono Mountain West. The relay team is made up of the four fastest 50-yard freestyle swimmers on the team, regardless of age.

Jordan qualified for YMCA nationals in three three individual events: 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. At the YMCA state meet, she placed 14th in the 100 freestyle and sixth in the breaststroke. She had already qualified for nationals in the 50 free before the state meet.

Jordan competed in the PIAA Class AAA swimming championships at Bucknell University on March 14 in the 100 free and 100 back, placing 17th in the backstroke event.

Zack Wolbert, 9, finished fourth in the 100-yard butterfly and seventh in the 50-yard breaststroke at the YMCA state meet. Colin Naturale, 10, came in 10th in the 100-yard freestyle and 12th in the 50-yard breaststroke. Wolbert and Naturale, along with Brandon Swingle, 10, and Kevin Inglesby, 10, swam the 200-yard medley relay and finished seventh. Benjamin Gendleman, 12, took fifth in the 50-yard butterfly.

Yang, 14, placed ninth in the 50-yard freestyle. Colin Cruz, 14, and Janay Parrish, 13, also swam well for the Piranhas.



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