NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle sent several swimmers to the Westchester County Swim Conference Championships at Scarsdale Municipal Pool on Monday, including two of the more dominant 12-year-olds in the county.
Brian Kelly, who has coached the team for 14 years, leads one of the larger swim teams in the county. The team has more than 125 swimmers on the roster, and the club typically has the maximum two swimmers in each race.
Kelly has been to the county championships many times. His role as coach requires plenty of time and energy throughout the competition.
“The kids swim back-to-back-to-back. There’s not a whole lot of rest for them,” Kelly said. “It’s a tough meet. You’ve got to keep the kids rested. You’ve got to get them to focus and just relax between their swims.”
Wykagyl earned the best finish in the club’s history at last year’s county championships. Several of the 12-year-old boys qualified for finals on Monday, including two of the best in the county.
Steven Amato swam in the county championships for the second time Monday, while Ryan Lee made his sixth appearance. Amato came in third in the 50-yard freestyle and first in the 50-yard breaststroke and also swam the 50-yard butterfly.
Lee qualified for finals in the 50-yard freestyle, 50-yard butterfly and 50-yard breaststroke. The two boys were also on a relay team that qualified for finals on Thursday at 10 a.m. at Westchester Country Club.
Amato qualified for finals for the first time, while Lee has been to the finals many times in his several years at the county championships. Still, both boys admitted they are nervous for Thursday’s events.
“I’m kind of nervous, but I swam good in Counties so I think I have a chance,” Amato said.
Lee won a finals event at age 10, but he is still a bit worried about Thursday.
“There’s a lot of new competition this year,” Lee said. “I think we’re all really close and it’s 50s. So I guess anything can happen, and that’s why I’m a little nervous.”