VAN WERT — For most of the area swimmers, be it in varsity
competition or on the club level, the season came to an end a couple of
weeks ago. Lincolnview 6th grader Jayden Welker, however, is set to
continue his season for one more meet.
Welker, 12, of Van Wert,
will represent the Van Wert YMCA Marlins swim team this Sunday, March
19, at the 2017 YMCA Great Lakes Zones Championship Swim Meet at Bowling
Green State University.
Welker qualified for the meet in the
11/12 boys 50 yard butterfly event by swimming a time of 29.90 seconds,
beating the required Zones qualification time of 30.39 seconds.
the 2017 Northwest Ohio YMCA Swim League Championships, also held at
BGSU, in early March, Welker placed third in the 50 butterfly, and
narrowly missed qualifying for the Zones meet.
“He missed the qualifying time by 0.39 seconds,” Marlins coach Julie Burenga said.
wasn’t ready to call it a season just yet, however. He continued to
push himself in an attempt to get into the Zones meet.
what is called the Last Chance Meet, which was last Saturday at the Lima
YMCA, and it gives swimmer one last chance to make those qualifying
times,” Burenga said. “He swam at that meet, and that’s where he made
his qualifying time.”
Welker is seeded 25th of 32 qualifiers in
the pre-meet Psych sheet. The Great Lakes Zones Championship Swim Meet
will feature swimmers ages 9-18 who meet qualifying times from five
states: Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. The meet
begins on Saturday.
“He’s been practicing by himself for the past
two weeks,” Burenga said of Welker. “He’s a remarkable young man; he’s
very dedicated and very driven.”
Welker is the first Marlin
swimmer to qualify for the Zones Championships since 2014 when Jamie
Burenga and Emma Pollock each qualified as 10-year-olds. Welker’s
success is an indicator of a program that continues to grow.
had many swimmers show continual time improvements over the course of
this season, and several swimmers place in the top-10 at (the Northwest
Ohio Championship),” Coach Burenga said. “We also grew in numbers over
the course of the year, so we’re excited about the future of the
Jaime Burenga, now 13, broke a team record in the 400M
freestyle with a time of 5:31.44. That record had stood since 1983.
Welker, too, set Marlins marks in the 400M freestyle in 5:30.38 and 500
yard freestyle in 6:24.42.
“Swimming is definitely his sport; he’s
a remarkable swimmer,” Coach Burenga said of Welker. “He has a lot of
talent and a lot of drive.”
The Marlins swim club has swimmers aged 5 through 18 and offers a summer and a winter program.
summer season begins in May, with a parent meeting on May 1 at 7 p.m.
at the Van Wert YMCA,” Burenga said. “The summer season runs from June
through mid-July and is a great opportunity to try competitive