Members of the Whirlwind National Team accept the championship banner. From left, Kyle O’Donnell , Kirsten Parkinson, Sean Burston, Allie Coleman and Joe Somma. Back row from left, Adam Genuario, Allie Courtney and Andrew Bologna. Front row from left, Kylie Towbin, Rachel Burston and Ariana Ross.
Just two weeks removed from its strong performance at Junior East Nationals and seven weeks from its team victory at Junior Region 1 Championships, the Whirlwind Dive Team returned home from the 2013 YMCA Nationals Championship with another overall team victory.
Under Joe Somma and his coaching staff, it was the fourth consecutive year that Whirlwind has claimed the top spot. As in years past, the annual competition was held at the International Hall of Fame Pool in Fort Lauderdale. Ninety-one divers from five states – representing six different YMCA programs – competed against a backdrop of sun and palm trees for bragging rights and the chance to pre-qualify for this summer’s USA Diving Junior National Championships to be held in Minnesota in August.
Whirlwind sent 22 divers to compete and 15 of them medaled by reaching the finals in at least one event: Allie Courtney (Wilton), Andrew Bologna (Greenwich), Annabelle Pollack (Greenwich), Anne Farley (New Canaan), Cameron Rhind (New Canaan), Genevieve Angerame (Orange), Jake Bowtell (Darien), Kevin Bradley (Norwalk), Kirsten Parkinson (Stamford), Kylie Towbin (New Canaan), Owen Stevens (Darien), Rachel Burston (Stamford), Sean Burston (Stamford), Timmy Luz (Darien) and Tom Kalinowski (New Canaan).
Courtney, Rhind, Bowtell (silver and bronze), Bradley, Parkinson, Burston (gold and silver) and Kalinowski were double-medalists. Bologna, Andgerame (two bronze), Towbin (bronze), Stevens (three silver), Burston (gold and two bronze) and Luz (silver and bronze) all won three medals.
The Burston siblings, Sean and Rachel each earned one of the coveted automatic berths to Junior Nationals this summer with their gold medal performances.
Whirlwind was able to achieve the first place finish thanks to the determination and effort of all of its divers.
The other members of Whirlwind’s YMCA National Team who contributed to the team victory are Claire Ross (New Canaan), Sophia Rapp (Weston), Caleigh Kupersmith (Greenwich), Ariana Ross (New Canaan), Kyla Pech (Darien), Kyle O’Donnell (Darien), and Tanner Blank (Westport).
Topping off this great team performance was the celebration of Allie Coleman, Whirlwind’s Associate Diving Director. Coleman was honored with the prestigious Robert “Moose” Moss award given to the coach, athlete, or administrator who embodies the values of the YMCA and best encourages the development and growth of the sport of diving.