Physical fitness experts agree that swimming is one of the best forms of physical exercise: Generally, the sport does not garner much attention further than its cardiovascular benefits. Weekly water cooler conversations do not revolve around the results of National Swim Meets: Those commentaries are reserved for the Monday morning quarterbacks pontificating Mike Tomlin's decision to run on third and long. Nevertheless, it was wonderful that the 2012 Summer Olympics in London provided the world with a sliver of insight into a swimmers life. The general public’s knowledge of swimming often revolves around the recognition of Olympic Champions such as Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin; never realizing the dedication and training to compete in a race that often lasts less than thirty seconds.
However, those fortunate enough to follow the Moon Aqua Club to Geneva, Ohio for the Annual Mark Braun Classic were treated to a true display of commitment, integrity and determination! The Spire Institute’s 10 lane-state of the art pool hosted the Mark Braun Classic on November 16th –November 18th. The meet provided theMoon athletes with an opportunity to compete against 63 teams from the Eastern region of the United States. Several swimmers arrived Friday afternoon for first session and did not finish until late Sunday evening. The 20Moon representatives, led by Head Coach Zack Gebhardt and assistant coach Alyssa Irvine were: Leah Baker (11), Abigail Beatty (10), Emma Connors (10), Lean Cords (12), Hannah Doncevic (11), Sarah Doncevic (10), Megan Fischer (11), Sarah Francis (17), Luke Franckhauser (9), Macrae Haluszczak (11), Alec Kanai (16), Shannon Murphy (10), Sierra Neft (17), Olivia Norris (9), Madison Olander (16), Inde Patterson (9), Nicholas Settembrine (11), Rachel Tesmmer (10), Francesca Vespignani (10), Lucas Resse (10). Many of the swimmers smashed their previous best times with an all-out effort in the water. Emma Connors (10), Sarah Doncevic (10) and Sierra Neff (17) advanced to the finals Saturday evening.
Swimming is an individualized sport where the athlete in the lane is competing against a swimmer from another team, a teammate and always the clock. Nevertheless, this weekend revealed the true meaning of Team as the swimmers never left the pool deck and cheered for one another. Each night culminated with a team meal as the young swimmers continued to developed bonds and the team’s relationships continues to grow stronger.
This December Coach Gebhardt will once again lead the Moon Aqua Club athletes into Oakland, PA for the 51st annual Christmas Invitational held at the University of Pittsburgh’s Tree's Hall. This year over 1400 athletes will be competing during the invitational running from December 13th-16th. It is obvious that swimming strengthens the heart. However, to perform as the Moon Aqua Club Athletes did during the Mark Braun Classic, a strong heart was a prerequisite. To demonstrate their dedication, integrity and discipline, they simply added water!