Two YMCA swimmers make national meet

July 21, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

They aren't expected to win, but two Danville swimmers are expected to enjoy themselves next week at the biggest meet of their lives.

Daniel Bastin and Sebastian Pyrek will represent the Wilderness Trace YMCA Stingrays in the YMCA Long Course National Championships in College Park, Md.

They achieved the qualifying standard - Bastin in the 50-meter freestyle and Pyrek in the 50 breaststroke - to earn their first berth in the YMCA nationals.

"It will be the fastest meet they've swam to this point," said their coach, Sarah Weitze Holman. "Both of them will probably swim lifetime bests, both will have great times and they'll get beat by 50 people."


But the two swimmers are taking that in stride.

"We know we're not just going to go there and show up and take third place," Pyrek said.

Still, just qualifying is a win of sorts for Pyrek, 14, who will be a freshman at Boyle County High School, and Bastin, 15, a sophomore-to-be at Danville.

"It's been one of their main goals for the past year," Holman said. "Since about this time last year, they've both really wanted to make their times and compete at nationals."

Milestone for Wilderness Trace

It is also a milestone for the growing Wilderness Trace program. These are the first swimmers to qualify for the national meet in Holman's 5 1/2 years as coach, during which time the program has grown from a group of 16 swimmers to a team boasting about 70 participants during the last winter season and about 35 this summer.

"It's a pretty big accomplishment for our team," Holman said. "A lot of kids who have made the state cuts every year are starting to look toward nationals now."

Both Bastin and Pyrek said they're looking forward to seeing what the competiton will be like.

"I kind of want to see the fastest time, to see what I have to build up to," Pyrek said.

The two swimmers made their qualifying times at a meet two weekends ago in Frankfort. Bastin swam the 50 freestyle in 27.11 seconds, while Pyrek had a time of 35.69 in the 50 breaststroke.

Pyrek said he was somewhat disappointed that he didn't qualify in what he thought was his best event, the 200 breaststroke.

"I was going for something completely different at nationals," he said. "I was sort of mad at myself and happy at the same time."

Bastin said he shared only one of those emotions.

"I got the one I wanted. I just got psyched up," he said.

Countless hours of practice

Like most competitive swimmers, they have pushed themselves through countless hours of practice time. They said it's not uncommon to spend four hours a day in the water during the summer months, while the fall and winter months might find them at the pool as early as 5:30 a.m.

"To get up to that level, it's hard," Bastin said.

Bastin and Pyrek will prepare for this meet as they would for any other championship meet, though they sometimes wish that wasn't the case.

"Practices should be getting easier," Bastin said, making sure it was loud enough for Holman to hear.

"But they're not," Pyrek added.

The national meet lasts for four days, but both Danville swimmers will compete on Tuesday, the first day of the event. They'll get to spend Monday sightseeing in nearby Washington - both said they are looking forward to seeing the Smithsonian Institution in particular - but their competition actually falls between two other meets, the Kentucky "B" championships this weekend in Louisville and the statewide "A" championships next weekend in Elizabethtown.

"It'll kind of feel like they're at a swim meet the entire week," Holman said.

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