YMCA of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties has announced the return of competitive swim to Lower Bucks County with the opening of the newly renovated pool at the Fairless Hills branch.
At the same time, the Y will merge its three regional teams into one team for competitive meets.
The Fairless Hills branch of YMCA of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties reopened in April after a full renovation, including the wellness center, program spaces, locker rooms and the pool. The Lower Bucks swim team will be led by coach Mike Chorba. Chorba swam for Rider University, is a Physical Education teacher in Princeton, N.J., public schools, and has extensive coaching experience with various teams in the area. Most recently, Chorba served on the Central Bucks Barracudas coaching team in Doylestown for the 2021-2022 season.
On Thursday, Aug. 18, swimmers and families will have the opportunity to meet Chorba and the Fairless Hills coaches, as well as tour the facility from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Coinciding with the return of swimmers to Fairless Hills is the merging of all three YMCA regional Bucks County swim teams into one team for competitive meets. Combined as one, the YMCA Central Bucks Regional Barracudas will compete in the Pendel league and will be YMCA and USA swimming sanctioned, so the team will compete against YMCA teams and USA teams if swimmers choose to participate in USA meets. Combining the three teams into one Bucks County team allows the Y to compete at a similar level to other teams brought to competition, usually with 300 to 400 swimmers.
“Now that we are combining the three regional Bucks County YMCA teams, we will no longer be competing against each other at meets. Rather, we will be competing against other large clubs as one big Bucks Y family,” said Tim Ryan, regional director of competitive aquatics for YMCA of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties.
Each regional swim group will continue to practice at its respective branch, retaining its own coaches. Chorba will begin working with the returning Fairless Hills swimmers in Lower Bucks, while Bill Boder leads the Central Bucks group in Doylestown, and Sarah Seigel continues her work with the Upper Bucks group in Quakertown.
“The merging of the teams will not have a discernible impact on individual competition,” Ryan explained, “but for team relays, we will enter one Barracudas team into each age and gender-specific grouped competition. This will not only send our top swimmers into the relays, but as a result, spur some very healthy competition for these spots among our regional squads.”
Remaining evaluations for the 2022-2023 team will be held at the Fairless Hills branch Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m.; Quakertown branch on Monday, Aug. 22 at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. Swimmers may try out for the Barracudas at any one of those locations and times. For information about the newly-combined Barracudas, or how to register for evaluations, email Tim Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The YMCA of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties’ Hunterdon, N.J., swim team, the Stingrays, will continue to compete as a separate team in the Northern New Jersey YMCA Swim League and USA Swimming.