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Rising Stars in Swimming Shine Bright

St.Thomas swimmers are making waves, and among them, Reagan Uszenski stands out as a phenomenal talent. At just 12 years old, Reagan has already built an impressive record.

Raegan Uszenski gets excited about upcoming meets. (Source photo by Joshua Crawford Barry)

In April, she returned from Cardiff with three silver medals and a bronze, a testament to her dedication and skill. Even during exam periods, Uszenski, like her fellow swimmers, commits to rigorous practice sessions, demonstrating exceptional dedication to the sport.

Uszenski has been training with her coach, John Vasbinder, for the past four years, and her progress has been remarkable. Her best event, the freestyle, boasts times such as 28.9 seconds in the 50m freestyle, 1:00.2 in the 100m freestyle, 2:17 in the 200m freestyle, and an impressive 4:00.50 in the 400m freestyle. Just recently, Uszenski set a new national record in the 800m freestyle, clocking in at 10:10, breaking the previous record by 11 seconds.

In three weeks, Uszenski and her teammates will head to the Caribbean and Central American Championship in Mexico, where they will compete against top swimmers from the region. The coach believes Uszenski has a strong chance of finishing among the top three in her age group.

Another rising star, Zion John Baptiste, also has a promising future. John Baptiste won a bronze medal at the CARIFTA Games, with a time of 29 seconds in the 50m backstroke and 1:04 in the 100m backstroke. In the upcoming championship, he will compete in the 13-15 age group, and the coach is confident in his potential to excel.

Zion John Baptiste steadily practices before exams. (Source photo by Joshua Crawford Barry)

Ava Yoder, a talented swimmer from Antilles, has shown significant progress. Having recently competed in the Virgin Islands Championship, Yoder and her teammates emerged victorious. The team took 28 swimmers to the competition, showcasing their depth of talent.

Max Wilson, another standout, has been with St. Thomas Swimming for 12 years and has steadily climbed the ranks to the Olympic national stage. Wilson’s journey is evidence of the power of perseverance and dedication, and he serves as a great role model for younger swimmers like Uszenski and John Baptiste.

Lindsay Barr, who is now 19 years old and studying at Colorado State University, is also expected to perform well at the upcoming championship. Her journey through the sport highlights the time and effort required to reach the top levels of competition.

Swimming is not an easy sport; it demands time and dedication. Uszenski and John Baptiste spend about 18 hours a week in training, often sacrificing their Sundays for swim meets. Yet, their love for the sport keeps them motivated and driven to succeed.

As Uszenski prepares for a sailing competition today and John Baptiste looks forward to advancing in his swimming career, the future of swimming looks incredibly bright in the Virgin Islands. These young athletes embody the spirit of perseverance and excellence, setting new records and inspiring their peers along the way. 

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