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YMCA swim team competes at national championships


The Central Bucks Region YMCA swim team sent its largest-ever continent to the 2024 YMCA National Short Course championships, held recently at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Blaise Hofmann was the first swimmer from the program to reach the podium at the national meet, taking eighth in the 200-yard individual medley with his time of 1:51.83.

Hofmann also swam in the 100 backstroke.

Connor Mangan competed in the 200 backstroke and 200 butterfly and Richard Mahony swam the 100 breaststroke.

Mangan, Theo Miksa, Max Bekes and Hofmann competed in the 200 medley relay and Mangan, Mahony, Louden Foff and Hofmann were in the 400 medley relay.

It was the second trip to the national meet for Mahony, who is entering his junior year at Central Bucks South.

“I think being there before helped me because I had an understanding of how everything went,” he said. “It was the end of the year, so I didn’t have to worry about anything. The season was pretty much wrapped up, and all my best times were in. It was just a fun final event for me.

“I have goals for the next couple of years. I’d like to get some records at South and break a 58 in the 100 breast and take maybe a relay to states for high school.

“I want to swim in college, so it’s time for me to get serious. I know I can face adversity because I had to come back from an ACL injury and I recently dropped football so I could focus on swimming.”

For the girls, Grace Petrakis was the top finisher, taking 29th place in the 200 individual medley (2:07.64). She also swam the 50 and 100 freestyles.

“I wasn’t particularly happy with how I swam,” said Patrakis, a rising junior at Central Bucks East. “I was coming off of (high school) states, so I wasn’t really prepared. Obviously, I had the training so that wasn’t a problem, but I was really tired.

“I tapered for states and that impacted me. It wasn’t hard to make the choice of which meet to taper for. I always knew states would be coming first and it’s hard to taper for a meet like nationals because it’s a whole week as opposed to just a few days.

“I was really focused on the 200 IM. It didn’t go so great, but it’s fine. It’s just part of the routine of my year. I was happy to have the chance to swim and enjoy the meet with everyone,”

Camille Serban, Maisey Shaffer, Eliot Foff and Enna Durant competed in the 200 medley relay.

It was the first time at the meet for Durant, who is entering ninth grade at Lenape Middle School.

“It was very intimidating,” she said. “Everyone was really tall and everyone’s times were so close and they were so fast. It was definitely hard to race, but it was a good experience. It will really help if I make it next year because I got to see what it was like and I’ll know what to expect. That will make it easier to be more comfortable swimming next year. It was really exciting to be there, though.”

Shaffer is also entering ninth grade at Lenape. In addition to the relay, she time trialed the 100 breaststroke.

“It was nice to swim against people who were at the same level I’m at,” she said. “Swimming the individual event was fun. Everyone was so close with their times. It was fun being on the big screen and seeing your name pop up. I could look up from the pool and see my splits.

“This definitely motivates me to work hard for next year, and I’m looking forward to swimming at (Central Bucks) West next year. My sister Olivia swims on the team so I know more how things work.”

Foff is entering her freshman year at New Hope-Solebury.

“This was my first trip to nationals and it was amazing. We saw the best swimmers in the country and people who qualified for the Olympic trials. It was the biggest meet I’ve ever been to and it was really intimidating. The pool was huge and there’s a lot of people there.

“It was great that we had a lot of people there because I don’t know what I would have done if I were alone. Being there with my friends really made the meet fun for me and hopefully I’ll get to do it again.”

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