Triangle YMCA Swim Team breaks national relay record - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Triangle YMCA Swim Team breaks national relay record

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

It might be hard to image athletes from rival schools coming together for a common cause.

But that's exactly what happened when swimmers from schools such as Millbrook, Holly Springs and Green Hope formed a relay team and then made history for a record-breaking relay for the YMCA of the Triangle Swim Team.

Chris Kohut, a member of the YOTA relay, said he can remember the moment he realized the team had set a record at a meet in Greensboro in April.

"When I touched the wall and pushed back and checked the clock it was such a great feeling to see we broke our first record," Kohut said.

Their time of 1 minute 23.44 seconds over 200 yards was the fastest time ever for a group of 15- to 16-year-olds.

"Wow," said YOTA swim coach Chad Onken, "these guys are incredible."

Onken knew his team had a chance at the record. Each member's 50-yard split added up to a record swim.

Still, Onken said, "No one in Raleigh has ever broken a national age group record. So to have these guys do it not once, but twice. Phenomenal."

Now, a pair of 200-yard freestyle national records reside in Raleigh, where a group of kids put their egos and school alliances aside for a common cause.

"We're all really good friends," said relay member Noah Franz. "We've known each other for the past two or three years. We've been swimming with each other every day for three hours. We became very close and we're all really great friends."

But being a great swimmer is more than being in the pool 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. Work on dry land is essential for a swimmer's development. Kicking drills and even boxing help them improve.

"It hurts, it hurts," said relay member Alex Carson. "You wake up the next morning and you're sore you can't walk, but you know every single day you have to come in and do the best you can no matter how sore you're feeling."

All that works adds up to a fierce hunger. It's not unusual for a swimmer to consume 5,000 calories a day. And that's where Mom comes in.

"She has to wake up before me and cook me breakfast every morning, which is nice," said relay member Colin Ellington. "I thank my Mom for that. It's pretty nice. We have to eat a lot."

And swim even more.

But there is one day when this group gets away from the sport.

"That's what Sunday's are for," said relay member Seth Maslowski. "Every other day of the week you have to keep on grinding. That's how you make these accomplishments, that's how you do these things. You have to keep grinding with your teammates."

"We just knew we could do it from the start," Ellington said. "It came from confidence and we accomplished our goal."

It's an accomplishment achieved through hard work and sacrifice.

"Half my life is swimming," Maslowski said. "Half my day is spent focusing on swimming."

Now the group focuses on their next big meet -- the YOTA Capital Classic in early December, when they will attempt to lower their record time.

Todd Gibson

Known as "Gibby" around the station, Todd excels at taking viewers beyond who won or who lost. He hosts "Friday Night Blitz," a showcase of varsity football action in our area. If you have a cool sports story, tell Gibby! More>>

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