TBAY Enjoys Spring Picnic
March saw Westchase TBAY swimmers turning in solid times at meets while gathering for a fun picnic.
On March 22-24, 23 members of the TBAY Westchase Swim Team attended the Area 3-5 meet in Sarasota Florida. The meet is for swimmers who haven’t achieved FLAGs cuts in specific events. Our swimmers did very well, with many of them making finals. Top three finishes were had by Lauren Sellers, who placed first in the 500 Free, second in the 13-14 400 IM and third in the 13-14 100 Breast. Lauren also achieved FLAGS cuts in the 500 Free, 400 IM and the 1,000 Free. Maddie Strassen placed first in the girls 15-18 100 Breast, achieving her Senior Champs cut in the 100 Breast.
On Saturday, March 30, the entire team had a fun picnic celebration at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center after the morning’s swim practice. The kids and parents were broken up into teams and completed a scavenger hunt, ending with each team performing a team cheer for Coach Alex. In addition to consuming large amounts of food, the kids participated in fun pool relays and tug-of-war competitions between the boys and girls. There was even a make-your-own sundae bar.
On May 18 the team will participate in Swim Across America, which raises money for and awareness of cancer prevention and treatment through swimming events. Some of our swimmers and Coach Alex will do a half-mile open water swim at Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach. Some of our parents will participate in half mile, one mile and even 2.4 mile swims. We would love to have Westchase residents sponsor us and even cheer us on. The swim starts at 8:30 a.m. To sponsor our team please click here.
For more information about our team, please visit http://www.tbaywestchase.org Once .there please use our swimoutlet.com link, a pass-through on our Web site, to order any swimming or beach gear.
By Brenda Bennett
TBAY Swims Gasparilla
March saw many Gulf Coast residents flocking to the local beaches.
Yet 28 of our Westchase swimmers headed to Tampa Preparatory Academy for the TBAY Central Gasparilla Races, Feb. 8-10. Last year's meet would have been better left to the Polar Bear Club as temperatures barely left the lower 30s. Fortunately this year our swimmers enjoyed warm sunshine and some blazing fast races − except for early Saturday morning, when the temps were briefly in the 50s. Many of our swimmers dropped time and showed continued improvement and promise in the pool.
The Gasparilla meet serves as a last chance to secure spots in the upcoming spring FLAGs (Florida Age Group Championships,) as well as the spring Senior Championships. Both Ben Parker and Joshua Bennett each earned one new qualifying spot for the Senior Champs and FLAGs, respectively.
Six swimmers placed in the top three in one or more races: David James in the 8U, Joshua Bennett and Kory Kimura in the 9-10 age group, Zachary Bennett in the 11-12 age group, Daniel Harris in the 13-14 age group and Ben Parker in the men's 17-and-over. As swimmers get older, the distances that they must swim get longer and the events more challenging. At this meet our swimmers challenged themselves with some tough events. Lauren Sellers swam the 400 IM for eighth place, Ben Parker swam the 200 fly for fourth place, Zachary Bennett swam the mile for first place and Daniel Harris swam the mile for third place.
Another great accomplishment is Zachary Bennett's second place finish in high points, which is an accumulation of points earned in each event swum throughout the meet. The higher one places in an event, the more points he or she acquires.
Later in February, Ben Parker then swam in the Senior Champs in Orlando, Florida. He swam well, cutting time in most of his races. Way to go, Ben!
On March 6-9, five of our 14U swimmers who had achieved qualifying times swam at the Florida Age Group Championships (formerly Junior Olympics) in Sarasota. The TBAY Club won third place among more than 50 swim clubs throughout Florida. Swimmers attending the championship meet were Lauren Sellers, Kory Kimura, Jacob Key, Joshua Bennett and Zachary Bennett.
For more information about our swim team, please visit http://www.tbaywestchase.org. If you need swim suits, caps, goggles or triathlon gear, you can help our swim team by using the link off of our page or visit http://www.swimoutlet.com/tbaywch.
By Brenda Bennett
TBAY at Westchase Has Busy Winter Months
The TBAY at Westchase swimmers made the most of their cooler months.
The TBAY Westchase team attended the Jingle Bell Meet the weekend of Dec. 14-16 at the Clearwater Long Center. This was a huge meet with 914 athletes, including former Olympian Brooke Bennett and former national team member Erika Erndl. This was our first official meet under our new coach, Alex Richardson, and almost every child on the team swam personal best times.
Among 18 teams TBAY placed fourth in high points. The meet hosted finals for the top eight finishers in each race and five of our Westchase swimmers, Kyle and Kory Kimura, Zachary and Joshua Bennett, Jacob Key and Ben Parker, attended. We were thrilled when our children made finals but it made for a very long day for parents, swimmers and Coach Alex, who spent three 12-hour days on deck! Top three finishes were had by Kory Kimura, Zachary Bennett, Kyle Kimura and David James while two new Junior Olympic/FLAGS cuts were made by Zachary Bennett.
One of the fun things that swimmers do when they visit meets from far away is to exchange swim caps. A Costa Rican team attended and one of their swimmers exchanged a swim cap for one of our TBAY caps.
The meet was televised and replays can still be viewed at http://www.floridaswimnetwork.com/watch-replays.
The team also held its annual holiday party in December, when we had a brunch open house for swimmers and their families. The team presented Rachel Sellers, who was this year’s president and treasurer, with a thank you card and gift certificates to recognize the many volunteer hours that she has put into our club. Sellers was part of the initial creation of the booster club six years ago and has been an active member of the board every year since. The club also elected its new board for 2013. As with any organization, the swim team relies heavily on its parent board volunteers to keep the team running efficiently.
On January 12-13, 21 TBAY Westchase swimmers splashed into 2013 at the North Shore pool in St. Petersburg for an exciting short course meet. The swimmers and fans were both welcomed with − and grateful for − clear blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures for a winter meet.
The majority of the swimmers dropped time and exhibited continued improvement under Coach Richardson. Coach Alex moved enthusiastically between the 10-and-under swimmers and the 11-and-up competitors as the meet ran in two pools simultaneously.
Seven of our swimmers placed in the top three in one or more events: Joshua Bennett, Zachary Bennett, David James, Jacob Key, Kory Kimura, Ben Parker and Carolina Ricciardi.
In addition to overall terrific performances, we are so pleased that two of our swimmers, Joshua Bennett and Carolina Ricciardi, achieved new time standards for this spring's Junior Olympics.
The TBAY team continues to train hard in preparation for upcoming meets. The next competition will be in early February when swimmers will have one last opportunity to make Junior Olympic cuts.
By Brenda Bennett and Sara James
TBay Welcomes Coach Richardson
Our Westchase TBAY Swim Coach Kelley Allen will forever be in our hearts, but this month we also welcome a new coach who was a friend of Kelley.
Coach Alex Richardson, who previously coached at two TBay branches prior to coming to Westchase, knew Coach Allen well and was already a part of our TBay family. The Westchase group has seen him on deck at various meets so he was already a familiar face.
Our swim team kids were heartbroken to lose their beloved coach, but they are a resilient bunch. They banded together because they knew that Coach Kelley would have wanted them to keep swimming. Thankfully, the TBay coaches from four of the other branches and two swim team fathers - Eric Hirsbrunner and Mike Easton who are both accomplished swimmers, donated many hours to coaching the swim team and keeping the swimmers in shape until Coach Alex could get to our pool full time.
In November, our swimmers proudly wrote KAH20 (for Kelley Allen H20) on their backs and shoulders as they competed at the SPA meet in St. Petersburg. Top three finishes were had by Joshua Bennett, Summer Senior, Ava Carter, Casey Knowles and Austin Sellers. Two weeks after that, seven TBay Westchase kids swam in the Gator meet at the University of Florida. This meet required highly competitive qualifying times and included swimmers from across the state. Swimmers who attended the meet were Kory and Kyle Kimura, Jacob Key, Carolina and Bruna Ricciardi and Joshua and Zachary Bennett.
Over Dec. 8 and 9, 16 team members attended the Harry Meisel meet, which is only for swimmers who have not achieved a USA swimming ‘A’/Junior Olympics FLAGS time in that stroke. Top three finishes were had by Carolina Ricciardi, Lindsey Marian, Maddy Strassen, Lauren Sellers, Tiffany Quach, Nicki Quach and Jacob Key. New Junior Olympic/FLAGS cuts were made by Jacob Key and Carolina Ricciardi.
Our swim team is also a family. We are sticking together and welcoming our new coach. For more information about the team and upcoming meets, please visit http://www.tbaywestchase.org You c.an also help support the team by using the swimoutlet.com link on our team Web site.
By Brenda Bennett
Westchase High School Swimmers Compete in District Meets
The swimmers from TBAY@ Westchase swim club have practically doubled in size since last year.
They currently swim for 12 Tampa Bay high schools. They include (see photo): (top row) Lindsey Marian (Gr. 7-Academy of the Holy Names), Harrison Keane (Soph.-Berkeley Prep), Kent Kimura (Sr.- Jesuit), Ben Parker (Sr.- Jesuit), Austin Sellers (Soph.-Jesuit), Jimmy Dang (Jr.-Jesuit), Kyle Kimura (Jr.-Plant), Michael Melendez (Sr.- Tampa Catholic); (bottom row) Kendall Clarke (Fr.-Alonso), Paige Carter (Fr.-Alonso), Kendal Allen (Fr.-Sickles), Maddie Strasen (Fr.-Robinson), Tiffany Quach (Fr.-Robinson), Kayli Diaz (Soph.-Hillsborough) and Jocelyn Williams (Jr.-Land O Lakes). Unavailable for the photo are Taylor Anderson (Soph.-Mitchell), Richie Bui (Fr.-Sickles) and Casey Knowles (Fr.-Gaither).
Currently, Taylor Anderson holds the Mitchell H.S. school records in the 50 Free, 100 Free and 100 Breast strokes. Kendall Clarke holds Sickles H.S. school records in the 100 Free and 100 Back. Paige Carter holds the Sickles H.S. school records in the 100 Breast, 200 IM and 200 Free. Kyle Kimura holds the Plant H.S. school record in the 100 Fly.
The swimmers represented their high schools at the 2012 FHSAA Swimming and Diving Championships. All also competed in their high school district meets, where they could only compete in two individual events. Those meets occurred Oct. 22-27, after deadline for November’s WOW. The top eight swimmers in each event qualified to compete in the Region meets on Nov. 1-3, 2012. The top 24 overall swimmers in every region of each class will then qualify to compete in the state meets held Nov. 8-10.
We wish all our high school swimmers the best of luck!
By Rachel Sellers
TBay Swimmers Shine on High School Teams
In August when Florida kids returned to school, 20 TBAY Westchase swimmers became stars on their high school swim teams.
Our Westchase team members swim for a plethora of public and private schools across Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Many have already proven stand-outs on their teams.
On Sept. 8 many of our TBAY Westchase swimmers helped their high school teams do well at the City Relay Championships. Kent Kimura helped his Jesuit relay team place third in the 400-yard freestyle relay and first in the 200-mixed relay. Austin Sellers and Jimmy Dang led their Jesuit team to a first place finish in the 200-yard medley relay while Ben Parker helped Jesuit take first place in the 500-free relay. Kent Kimura and Jimmy Dang helped their Tigers relay team place second in the 200-yard freestyle while Austin Sellers helped his relay take first in the 200-mixed breaststroke.
Ben Parker helped his 400-IM mixed relay team take first place while Taylor Anderson set a record in the 100- and 50-free for Mitchell High School in Pasco County. Meanwhile Paige Carter broke three records for Alonso High School and recorded personal best times in the 200-free, 100-breast and 200-IM. Paige also helped break three relay records with fellow TBAY swimmer Kendal Clarke.
That same weekend, our younger swimmers competed at the Sweet September meet in Clearwater. The team swims at this meet every year. Although we all love it, the past two years have brought storms and this year was no different. On Friday evening and Saturday the kids swam with just a few stray showers. Strong winds caused one of the tents to get launched into the air with parents and swimmers underneath. Thankfully, no one was hurt. After a short delay, the meet continued. Sunday morning, however, brought massive lightning, thunder and downpours, ultimately cancelling the day’s events. It was still a very successful meet for our swimmers with five of them winning high point trophies. New Junior Olympic cuts were also made by Carolina Ricciardi, Lauren Sellers, Zachary Bennett, Ava Carter and Kory Kimura.
Another amazing thing about all of these swimmers is that they are good students. Many of them are in IB programs and advanced honors classes and they are able to keep their grades up while practicing and swimming hard.
By Brenda Bennett
TBay Swimmers Feted for Success
In July Westchase swimmers attended the annual awards banquet at the Swim and Tennis Center.
At the banquet Coach Kelley Allen distributes a number of different awards. Swimmers were given participation trophies based on the number of swim meets they attended during the year. Coach Kelley also choose swimmers from each of the four practice groups for special awards, including Most Improved, MVP and Coach’s Award. The Coach’s Award is given based on the swimmer demonstrating hard work, competitive drive, sportsmanship, improvement and work ethic.
Also in July, TBAY Westchase sent 10 swimmers to the Florida Age Group (FLAGS) Championship meet in Gainesville. Known as JO’s to swimmers, the meet is for swimmers who are aged 14 and under and who have qualifying times. Achieving one or more qualifying times for these meets is one of the goals for swimmers, so it is quite an honor to attend.
TBAY as a club placed third overall in points behind the Sarasota Sharks and Bolles. Ava Carter won second place high point for 10U girls by taking second place in the 50 free and 50 back, first place in the 50 breast, third in the 100 breast, first in the 50 fly, first in the 200 IM and third place in two relay finishes. Her older sister, Paige Carter, placed seventh in the Girls 13-14 100 breast and fifth in the 200 breast. Paige and Casey Knowles helped their TBAY Relay team win fourth place in the Girls 13-14 200-meter free relay. Kory Kimura placed ninth in the 10U Boys 200 free and tenth in the 50 backstroke.
Westchase swimmers who qualified for FLAGS were Lauren Sellers, Kory Kimura, Ava Carter, Paige Carter, Zachary Bennett, Casey Knowles, Kendall Allen, Richie Bui, Ryaan Hatoum, Christopher Quach and Carolina Ricciardi.
On July 26 TBAY Westchase sent five swimmers to the Florida State Long Course Senior Champs competition in Sarasota for swimmers 14 and older. Olympian Ryan Lochte currently holds six of the meet’s existing records in various strokes, including the 400 IM, for which he won a gold medal in London.
Competing at the Senior Champs, Kyle Kimura placed tenth in the Boys 15-16 50 free, ninth in the 100 free and tenth in the 200 free. Austin Sellers landed third place in the Boys 15-16 100 breast and third in the Boys 15-16 200 breast.
Westchase Swimmers who qualified for FLAGS were Austin Sellers, Kyle Kimura, Kent Kimura, Jocelyn Williams, Ben Parker and Taylor Anderson
Many of our team members will be swimming for their high schools, so look for their names in the newspaper for being stars on their teams.
By Brenda Bennett
TBay Swimmers and Parents a Dedicated Lot
TBAY Westchase’s swim team continues their very busy summer of long practices and hot weekends at swim meets.
After each meet, swim parents should also be awarded medals for getting up at the crack of dawn, dragging groggy swimmers from their beds and getting the meet’s supplies packed and loaded. These dedicated parents drive to the meets while trying to get their groggy swimmers to eat and drink something. Arriving, they sweat in the hot sun beside a cool, inviting pool that they can’t jump into. After cheering on their child, they reload the car – and do it all over again the next day.
We do love it though!
The weekend of June 15, the club swam at the Lightning Invitational in Largo. First through third places finishes were had by Carolina Ricciardi, Lauren Sellers and Joshua Bennett.
First through eighth place finishers also came back in the late afternoon for finals. Many parents therefore spent our entire weekend at the meet – yet another reason for a swim parent medal!
It goes without saying that Coach Kelley should also be thanked for his boundless energy. For three days straight he runs up and down the pool while cheering for his swimmers from morning until night.
Two weeks later, the team swam a short course meet in Lakeland. The team is in long-course season so this meet is an anomaly and most swimmers do really well after racing the longer, 50-meter courses. First through third place finishes were had by Carolina Ricciardi, Zachary Bennett, Lauren Sellers, Richie Bui, Jacob Key, Lindsay Valancius, Paige Carter and Ava Carter. Lauren Sellers also won the third place high point trophy.
The last meet up before our championship FLAGS and Senior Champs was in St. Petersburg the weekend of July 6. Placing first through third were Joshua Bennett, Zachary Bennett, Elliott Easton, Lauren Sellers, Austin Sellers, Paige Carter, Ava Carter, Taylor Anderson and Casey Knowles. Taking home first place highpoint awards were Ava Carter and Joshua Bennett.
Normally, winning swimmers get medals or trophies, but for this meet, the first and second place winners received rubber ducks. It was fun to see that the kids were more thrilled with the rubber ducks than medals!
Please visit http://tbaywc.shutterfly.com for the swim team’s schedule and more updates.
By Brenda Bennett
TBay Continues Hard Work Over Summer Break
You might be planning a relaxing summer of sleeping in every day, but the TBAY Westchase swim team is working harder than ever.
The Age Group 1 and Senior swimmers are at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center pool six days a week from 7-10 a.m., with a second afternoon practice from 4-6 p.m. Meanwhile the Age Group 2 kids swim from 10 a.m.-noon, with the novice group swimming from 10-11:30 a.m. That is a lot of swimming!
The team knows that to swim their best, they have to put in the hours at practice. Including Little Flippers, that swim schedule puts Coach Kelley Allen on deck for at least eight hours per day in the very hot sun. You’ll notice that coach has a large container of cold water close at hand through the day as he endures the Florida heat.
During the school year, that hard work has paid off as our swimmers have continued to excel at meets. On May 19-20, the team swam a meet at the St. Petersburg Northshore pool. The meet didn’t designate team winners or high points but first through third place finishes were made by
Carolina Ricciardi, Bruna Ricciardi, Ava Carter, Taylor Anderson, Paige Carter, Joshua Bennett, Zachary Bennett, Kory Kimura, Kyle Kimura and Ryaan Hatoum.
Many residents may not know that over half of our swim team members are Westchase residents whose parents pay homeowners’ association dues plus an additional monthly swim and tennis center fee and swim team dues. Like any other sport, swimming requires a physical and financial commitment. It also demands dedicated parents who will get up early to drive their swimmers to practices and weekend meets.
Team members 14 and under with qualifying cuts are getting ready for the Florida State Age Group Championships (formerly Junior Olympics) July 19-22 in Gainesville while the 15–18-year-old swimmers with qualifying cuts will compete at the Senior Championships July 26-29 in Sarasota. It is an honor just to compete in either of the two events and something our swim team kids strive to achieve.
By Brenda Bennett
TBAY @ Westchase Takes First Place at Rowdy Cup
Westchase’s TBAY Swim Team continued their winning streak with two more team trophies at recent meets.
The team is now swimming their long-course season, which means they are swimming 50-meter laps instead of 25-yard laps. The fact that the team still excels in long course meets without access to a long-course training pool speaks highly of our coach, Kelley Allen. Coach Kelley has the kids flip-turning without using the wall to push off. This feels much like a dead stop in the water and is quite difficult. A long-course, 50-meter or 100-meter butterfly can be extremely daunting when you realize it’s about twice the length of our Westchase pool.The weekend of April 20 the team competed in the annual Rowdy Cup meet in Winter Haven. The meet is named after U.S. Olympic Hall of Famer and three-time Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines, now a TV commentator. TBAY competed with 21 other clubs but finished with the first-place trophy. High point awards for first through third place were won by Carolina Ricciardi (8U Girls), Ava Carter (10U Girls), Kory Kimura (10U Boys), Lauren Sellers (11-12 Girls), Paige Carter (13-14 Girls) and Kyle Kimura (Senior Boys).
Two weekends later the team also took the first place trophy at the WFLA Spring Open held in Largo. First- through third-place highpoint awards were won by Carolina Ricciardi (8U Girls), Joshua Bennett (8U Boys), Ava Carter (10U Girls), Kory Kimura (10U Boys), Zachary Bennett (11-12 Boys), Paige Carter (13-14 Girls), Casey Knowles (13-14 Girls) and Kyle Kimura (Senior Boys).
This month the team will compete the weekend of June 15 in Largo and June 30 in Lakeland. For updates please visit our Web site, http://tbaywc.shutterfly.com.
By Brenda Bennett
TBAY Celebrates Spring
Every spring the TBAY @ Westchase swim team looks forward to its annual spring picnic.
This year’s picnic was held at Baybridge Park after Saturday swim practice. You would think that our swimmers would be tired after one group had swum for three hours and the other had swum for one and one half hours. That, however, was certainly not the case. The kids played games and held relay races. Soon they began their annual tradition of getting each other sopping wet with water balloons, water guns and buckets of water. Prior to the drenching, the parents made sure the kids ate lots of burgers, hot dogs, chips, cookies, cake and plenty of other goodies. The kids all had a wonderful time having fun together outside of the pool.
During the picnic, Coach Kelley Allen took what, for him, is an unusual position – sitting in a chair in the shade. Most of you have probably seen Coach Kelley around our pool during practice. He doesn’t sit down for four to six hours straight, running up and down the side of the pool while instructing the swimmers.
Two weeks later many of our swimmers participated in the Area 3-5 meet in Sarasota. The meet is for swimmers who have not achieved a current FLAG (JO) or Senior Champ cut in their event. Our swimmers had a great meet. Richie Bui placed third in the Boys 13-14 200-yard breast stroke while Christopher Quach placed second in the Boys 11-12 100-yard backstroke. Carolina Ricciardi had a great meet with many solid finishes in the Girls 8U races, including first in the 25- and 50-yard breast and 50 free; second in the 100 IM; and third in the 25 fly. Lindsey Valancius placed third in 11-12 Girls 100-yard back. Meanwhile new Junior Olympics times were achieved by Kendal Allen in the Girls 13-14 Fly, Richie Bui in the Boys 13-14 100- and 200-yard breast and Christopher Quach in the Boys 11-12 100 back.
If you would like to follow the activities of the swim team, please visit our Web site, http://tbaywc.shutterfly.com.
By Brenda Bennett
TBAY Swimmers Take Second at Senior Championships
In late February Westchase’s TBAY branch sent four 15-and-older swimmers to the highly competitive Florida Swimming Senior Championships in Orlando.
Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte swam at the meet along with many of Florida’s future Olympic hopefuls. Our four swimmers all did exceptionally well and improved upon their fastest times. At the meet’s end Tampa Bay Aquatics (TBAY) had won second place behind Bolles, with both beating the Sarasota Sharks team, which placed third. If you are familiar with the Bolles School in Jacksonville, you will know what an accomplishment it is to compete with them for top finishes.
Among the Senior Champs, Austin Sellers placed fourth in the boy’s 14-16 200-yard breast stroke and sixth in the 100-yard breast. After the meet, Kyle Kimura, who had helped TBAY win fifth place in two relays, was asked to swim on a relay team at USA Swimming’s Junior Nationals, which will be held in Orlando on March 20–24. This is a huge honor for Kyle and the team is very proud of him.
On March 8-11, Westchase’s TBAY sent ten 14-and-under swimmers to the Florida Age Group Championships (FLAGS), still known in the swimming world as Junior Olympics. At the meet’s close, TBAY had placed third behind the Bolles team and the Sarasota Sharks, who enjoyed a home pool advantage. Ryaan Hatoum placed seventh in the Boys 10U 50 breast. Lauren Sellers kicked TBAY off by knocking nine seconds off her time in a very long and difficult 11-12 Girls 1,000 freestyle. Paige Carter made it to finals for three events, placing sixth in the 13-14 Girls’ 200-yard breast, tenth in the 100-yard breast and sixth, seventh and eighth in three relays.
Younger sister Ava Carter starred in the Girls 10U, placing fifth in the 50 fly, fourth in the 100 IM, sixth in the 50 free, seventh in the 100 free, first in the 50 breast, second in the 100 breast and fourth in a relay. If a swimmer achieves a top-six finish, they earn a spot on the Florida All Star team, so both Carters will swim at the All Star meet in Fort Pierce March 24-25.
Jabari Ramsey, 12, made finals for four 11-12 Boys events and won third place in the 50 fly, fourth in the 100 fly, fifth in the 200 IM and first in the 100 IM, 100 breast and 50 breast. Jabari also helped his relay teams place first and third and second in two additional events.
Once again our swimmers demonstrated that hard work and focus can help them shine!
By Brenda Bennett
TBAY Team Triumphs with Help of High Temps
In the last week of December 2011, TBAY Westchase Swim Coach Kelley Allen made a very wise decision to have our team swim their first meet of 2012 indoors.
He scheduled them for the indoor meet at Clearwater Long Center on Jan. 14-16. There was another outdoor meet that weekend that the team had originally planned to attend. Its format, however, was changed, so that seniors who had achieved Sr. Champs cuts would not be allowed to swim.Florida temperatures in January can vary significantly. On the weekend of Jan. 14-16, the TBAY Westchase team was all thanking Coach Kelley since the temperature had plunged into the 40’s.
Our swimmers were nice and warm in the indoor Long Center and their results showed it. TBAY placed fourth overall out of 31 clubs, which is a huge accomplishment in such a competitive meet. It hosted 20-25 Olympic trial qualifiers, the Canadian National Junior Team, several national age group record holders and many Olympic hopefuls.
High point winners were Carolina Ricciardi (first place, 8U Girls), her twin sister Bruna Ricciardi (second place) and Joshua Bennett (first place, 8U Boys). Many of our swimmers made finals each night. First through third place preliminary and finals victories were achieved by Taylor Anderson, Paige Carter, Ava Carter, Kory Kimura, Casey Knowles, Jabari Ramsey and Lauren Sellers.
Two weeks later when the team swam at an outdoor meet in St. Petersburg, the weather had changed again. It grew much warmer, which also allowed them to excel. First through third place finishes were had by Taylor Anderson, Joshua Bennett, Zachary Bennett, Richie Bui, Ava Carter, Paige Carter, Kayli Diaz, Ryaan Hatoum, Jacob Key, Kory Kimura, Kyle Kimura, Casey Knowles, Lauren Sellers, Austin Sellers and Preston Smith.
On Feb. 23-26, our older swimmers with cut times swam at the Florida Senior Champs meet in Orlando while our 14-and-under swimmers with cut times will race at the FLAGS (formerly Junior Olympics) March 8-11 in Sarasota.
By Brenda Bennett
TBAY Team Proudly Displays Championship Banner
If you have been around the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center pool on Countryway Boulevard, you have seen a new championship banner.
The banner announces that the TBAY @ Westchase swim team is the Silver Champs for the Harry Meisel Championships. That event was held Dec. 10-11, when the team finished second out of 13 swim clubs. This is no surprise given the number of first, second and third place finishes our team had. Top three finishes were achieved by Lauren Sellers, Maddie Strasen, Richie Bui, Christopher Quach, Ben Parker, Tiffany Quach, Austin Sellers, Kayli Diaz, Carolina Ricardi and Zachary Bennett.
After the team put in their hard work racing, they were ready for the fun of their annual Christmas party. Every year the kids look forward to the very messy but tasty donut eating contest, sack relays and Secret Santa gift exchange. As in past years, Coach Kelley even competed with the kids in the donut eating contest. Everyone ended up with a face covered in chocolate and/or powdered sugar. Club members also feasted on a huge spread of food; these kids have to keep their energy up for swimming!
Over the Christmas vacation, while most of their peers were sleeping late and relaxing, the TBAY @ Westchase swimmers were spending two to five hours at the pool practicing. The older group practiced daily from 7-10 a.m., with some returning for a second practice from 4-6 p.m. The younger swimmers practiced from 10-11:30 a.m. or noon each day.
That is dedication to their sport and the reason this team keeps winning!
By Brenda Bennett
WCA Board Meeting Notes, Jan. 2012: Board Debates Grass Moratorium and Pool Fence
The first meeting of the Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board of Directors in 2012 kicked off with fireworks. The Jan. 12 session began with the residents forum that saw two voting members, Carlos Quiros (Villas of West Park Village) and Gene McArthur (Woodbay), express concerns about fireworks being set off in the community over the recent holiday season. McArthur said a pick-up truck parked in front of his house on New Year’s Eve and set off canister-style fireworks, which burned a neighbor’s screen enclosure. McArthur described the fireworks as, “…not kids’ stuff but major explosives.”
After WCA President Joaquin Arrillaga suggested that the fireworks issue be added to the February meeting agenda so the matter could be properly addressed, the board agreed.
In new business, a motion was made to roll over the year-end cash available balance of approximately $232,000. The motion was seconded and approved.
Directors then discussed assessment deadlines for homeowners’ late payments. The annual homeowner’s assessment was due by Jan. 1; a notice and $25 late fee will be sent to the owner on Feb. 1. A follow-up letter will be sent out on March 1 advising delinquent owners they will be forwarded to legal counsel if the assessments are not paid by March 15. Those homeowners whose accounts are sent to legal counsel for collection generally see significant legal fees added to their bill.
The Nathan Lafer Award, which was awarded to Harbor Links/The Estates resident Ben Stein for his work in establishing the Westchase Thanksgiving Food Drive, was presented to his father, Jonathan, since Ben is currently away at college.
During the meeting, directors debated whether there should be a temporary moratorium on dead sod violations due the winter weather. Dyan Pithers commented, “It’s been a mild year in regards to weather so I don’t support it.”
Greens resident Ernie Sylvester, a supervisors on the Community Development District, asked, “Has anything been written in WOW about how to grow grass in winter?” The board agreed that education of residents might be a good idea.
Directors also discussed adding fencing at the West Park Village pool, which would allow access to the pool bathrooms for tennis players. To protect the association against liability, the suggested fence would keep restroom visitors from approaching the closed pool. Currently, those utilizing the tennis courts have to walk to the Baybridge Park restrooms. Brian Ross stated, “I’m not ready to talk about quotes for fencing when we aren’t clear on a master plan.”
The board agreed it was a good idea to put together a two- to five-year master plan for the facilities first.
Alonso High School requested use of the West Park Village tennis courts from 3-5 p.m. each day for their tennis team’s practices. Westchase Operations Manager Kelly Shires expressed support for the proposal and the board approved it.
In other news:
The board voted unanimously to re-appoint Dale Sells to the Modifications Committee.
The last West Park Village water bill was higher than normal and a leak was discovered and repaired.
Association Manager Debbie Sainz announced that Shires and Westchase Swimming Coach Kelley Allen had received Red Cross certifications. This will allow Westchase to become a training center for certifying individuals seeking to become lifeguards at Westchase pools.
Sainz announced there were 400 violation letters sent to residents in December.
A volleyball tournament is planned for February with Westchase villages competing against each other. Interested residents should contact the Swim and Tennis Center at 855-0662.
Zookeeper will be February’s featured Movie in the Park. It will be shown on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at Baybridge Park.
By Lisa Puster
TBAY Swimmers Finish 2011 Strongly
November and December saw impressive accomplishments among Westchase’s TBAY squad, including one swimmer beating an Olympic champion.
Nov. 5-6 saw TBAY at the CAT Fall Classic at the Long Center in Clearwater. Many of our swimmers came out with top ten finishes. High point medals for second place were awarded to Jabari Ramsey among the 11-12 Boys and Joshua Bennett among the 7-8 Boys.
On Nov. 19-20 our swimmers participated in a meet in St. Petersburg where triple Olympic champion Brooke Bennett raced. Bennett, now 31, is quite a celebrity to the swimmers and she was kind enough to sign autographs while trying to prep for her own races. TBAY swimmer Jabari Ramsey, 12, raced Bennett on the Long Course 50 Fly and out swam her by sub seconds. How many kids can say they swam against a former Olympic swimmer and beat them?
Twins Carolina and Bruna Ricciardi, 8, also had an outstanding meet and finished in first and second place in many of their races. TBAY’s Westchase swimmers achieved top ten rankings in most events in which they swam.
Over Dec. 2-4 16 members of the TBAY Westchase branch attended the Gator Holiday Classic in Gainesville. This meet was highly competitive and included swimmers from Georgia and Florida. It was quite an accomplishment just to swim in the meet since there were qualifying times for each race. Finals were held for those swimmers 11 and older who achieved top finishes. Many of our TBAY swimmers went on to them on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening.
Among them Ava Carter placed second in the 10U 50 breast and 100 breast races out of almost 100 girls racing! Ava’s 200 free relay team also came in third place and she finished sixth in the 50 fly and ninth in the 100 fly and 100 IM. Older sister Paige Carter took ninth place in the 200 breast and made it into finals each night.
Jabari Ramsey placed first in the 11-12 Boys 50 breast and 100 breast, second in the 200 yard breast and 100 IM, fourth in the 200 IM and tenth in the 50 fly. All three Kimuras, Kory, Kyle and Kent, made cuts with Kyle making finals in some events and achieving an eighth place finish on a relay. Siblings Austin and Lauren Sellers also both swam and Lauren achieved another FLAGS (formerly called the Junior Olympics) cut in the 100 IM.
As usual the TBAY @ Westchase swimmers represented their community proudly.
By Brenda Bennett
Westchase High School Swimmers Shine
The teen swimmers from TBAY @ Westchase swim club are representing several high schools in Tampa Bay this year.
The Westchase high school swimmers are: Taylor Anderson (Freshman, Mitchell H.S. – Class 2A, Region 2), Jimmy Dang (Sophomore, Jesuit H.S. – Class 2A, Region 3), Kayli Diaz (Freshman, Hillsborough H.S. – Class 2A, Region 3), Harrison Keane (Freshman, Berkeley Prep – Class 1A, Region 3), Kent Kimura (Junior, Jesuit H.S. – Class 2A, Region 3), Kyle Kimura (Sophomore, Plant H.S. – Class 3A, Region 2), Michael Melendez (Junior, Tampa Catholic – Class 1A, Region 3), Ben Parker (Junior, Jesuit H.S. – Class 2A, Region 3), Austin Sellers (Freshman, Jesuit H.S. – Class 2A, Region 3) and Jocelyn Williams (Sophomore, Land O’ Lakes H.S. – Class 2A, Region 2). Also competing for her school with the high school swimmers is Lindsey Marian, a sixth grader at the Academy of the Holy Names.
Currently Taylor Anderson holds the Mitchell H.S. record in the 50 Free, 100 Free and 100 Breast. Kyle Kimura holds the Plant H.S. record in the 100 Fly.
The teen swimmers represented their high schools at the 2011-12 FHSAA Swimming and Diving Championships. All of these swimmers competed in their high school district meets and could only compete in two individual events. The district meets occurred Oct. 27-28. The top eight in each event from the district meets qualified to compete in the regional meets on Nov. 4-5. The top 24 overall swimmers in every region of each class qualified to compete in the state meets Nov. 10-12.
In Class 3A, Region 2, Kyle Kimura placed eighth in the 100 Fly. In Class 1A, Region 3, Harrison Keane placed seventh in the 200 Free and 10th in the 500 Free; and Michael Melendez placed 16th in the 200 Free. In Class 2A, Region 2, Taylor Anderson won first place in the 50 Free and 12th in the 100 Breast and Jocelyn Williams placed fifth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 Breast.
In Class 2A, Region 3, Kayli Diaz placed sixth in the 200 Free and 11th in the 100 Fly; Jimmy Dang placed ninth in the 100 Back and 11th in the 200 IM; Kent Kimura placed 10th in the 200 Free and the 500 Free; Ben Parker placed third in the 200 Free and seventh in the 500 Free; and Austin Sellers placed third in the 100 Breast and placed fifth in the 200 IM.
Taylor Anderson, Jocelyn Williams and Austin Sellers advanced to states in their respective classes in individual events. There Taylor Anderson placed 11th in the 50 Free, Jocelyn Williams placed 22nd in the 200 IM; and Austin Sellers placed 16th in the 100 Breast.
Congratulations to our Westchase high school swimmers!
By Rachel Sellers
Fall Brings Great Times and Pumpkins to TBAY @ Westchase
September and October saw Westchase swimmers bring home championship times, high point awards and pumpkins.
On Sept. 18 some of the TBAY @Westchase swim team’s 11-and-older swimmers took on the 1,000-yard swim at the St. Petersburg invitational meet. All of the swimmers who participated successfully completed the distance.
Three swimmers, Lauren Sellers (11-12 Girls), Jabari Ramsey (11-12 Boys) and Austin Sellers (13-14 Boys), achieved Florida Age Group Championship (FLAGS, formerly Junior Olympics) time cuts and Paige Carter (13-14 Girls) achieved a Senior Champ cut.
While this is exciting news for these racers, it also means they are going to be swimming the event at least once more at the championship competitions. None of these swimmers look forward to swimming fast for that distance, but they enjoy the challenge!
The weekend of Oct. 8-10 the TBAY @ Westchase swimmers and their parents endured a full day of extreme wind followed by a full day of non-stop rain. Nevertheless they continued to excel at the Nike Swim Classic. At the meet Westchase’s team came in second place out of 15 teams. This was a significant accomplishment because Westchase was the only TBAY branch racing. Many of our swimmers placed in the top ten for high points. To determine high point awards, points are given each time a swimmer races for first place and so on.)
High Points Awards:
Carolina Ricciardi, fifth place (8U)
Joshua Bennett, sixth place (8U)
Ava Carter, third place (10U)
Kory Kimura, third place (10U)
Lauren Sellers, eighth place (11-12)
Zachary Bennett, fourth place (11-12)
Christopher Quach, ninth place (11-12)
Paige Carter, first place (Senior Girls)
Kendal Allen, eighth place (Senior Girls)
Austin Sellers, first place (Senior Boys)
Michael Melendez, ninth place (Senior Boys)
One fun thing about the meet was that swimmers who won their heats were allowed to pick out pumpkins from the pumpkin patch.
The TBAY @ Westchase team took home lots of pumpkins!
By Brenda Bennett
TBAY Westchase Swim Team Works Hard and Plays Hard
While TBAY swimmers work hard, they also know how to play hard.
Most TBAY swimmers attend swim practice five to six days per week for one to two-and-a-half hours per day depending upon their practice group. That is a lot of hard work and dedication. Every year in August, the team also has a fun day at Typhoon Lagoon, but of course, it’s on a Sunday to avoid interfering with the longer Saturday morning practices!
The TBAY kids had a great time riding down slides, tubing and relaxing in the lazy river. Swim team kids were not at all intimidated by the huge waves kicked out of the wave machine. You could see TBAY swimmers toward the front of the pool body surfing the six-foot waves effortlessly.
After the fun, the TBAY kids knew when they needed to focus. At our yearly Sweet September meet held Friday-Sunday, Sept. 9-11, our swimmers came out with the first place team trophy and a whole slew of high point trophies. Awards were:
U10 Girls – Ava Carter, First Place
U10 Boys – Zachary Bennett, First Place; Kory Kimura, Second Place
11-12 Boys – Jabari Ramsey, First Place
13-14 Girls – Paige Carter, First Place; Casey Knowles, Second Place; Kendal Allen, Third Place
13-14 Boys – Austin Sellers, Third Place
Senior Girls – Jocelyn Williams, First Place
Senior Boys – Michael Melendez, First Place; Mason Rinehart, Third Place
This team knows how to have fun and race hard! If you would like to see more information about the swim team and upcoming activities, go to http://www.tampabayaquatics.com and click on Westchase.
By Brenda Bennett
TBAY Places Third in FLAG Championships
Fifty teams across Florida sent swimmers to the Florida Age Group Championship Long Course meet in Orlando Florida and Tampa Bay Aquatics came away with third place overall.
The third place finish is a huge accomplishment based on the competitiveness of Florida’s swim clubs. Directly after that meet, Westchase’s Paige Carter was one of 48 swimmers selected for the Southern Zone team. The top five swimmers in each age group are chosen to swim for the Zone team and it is quite an honor to be selected.
Carter flew to Cary, North Carolina, where she spent the week training and competing in various races including a three-kilometer open water swim. Carter had never done an open water swim before but she ended up loving the event. Carter’s mom, April, her dad, Marc, and sister, Ava, were able to travel to North Carolina to see some of the events.
TBAY continued their high performances at the Area 3 meet July 29-31, where the team garnered many first, second and third place finishes. In addition, swimmers Taylor Anderson, Kory Kimura, Ryaan Hatoum, Austin Sellers and Lauren Sellers achieved new Florida Age Group Championship short course cuts.
For more information onWestchase’s TBAY team, visit http://www.tampabayaquatics.com then click on Westchase.
By Brenda Bennett