Piranhas are conference champs

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Pictured are Piranhas swimmers after winning the conference tournament meet Saturday at Greenville.

It’s been a long swim, but the Waterloo Piranhas are back on top again. 

The Piranhas were once a mighty force in summer swimming circles, but dropped significantly in numbers following the closure of the city pool in 2010.

At one point, the Piranhas were down to just 34 swimmers and we unable to keep up with larger teams in the Kaskaskia Conference. 

In recent years, the parent board worked hard to grow the program. In 2019, there were 84 swimmers for the Piranhas.

This summer, the Piranhas had nearly 115 swimmers after not having a summer swim season in 2020 due to COVID.

The team practices and hosts meets at the Monroe County YMCA.

The Piranhas went 6-1 to win their first Kaskaskia Conference championship since 2014.

The regular season title came down to Waterloo and Columbia, with Columbia falling last Wednesday to Greenville to give the Piranhas the edge.

And on Saturday, Waterloo won the conference tournament at Greenville.

 Waterloo led with 1,744.5 points, followed by Columbia at 1,597, Greenville at 1,305, Vandalia at 789 and Sparta at 730.5 points.

“We had a great showing, despite it being hot,” Piranhas league representative Matt Lucash said. “Our swimmers did a great job of showing up to the meet and being ready to compete.”

The Piranhas had five high-point winners in the conference tourney: Claire Wiemerslage in under 8 girls, Reese Davis-Grandcolas in ages 9-10 girls, Kendall Vest in ages 11-12 girls and Peyton Vest/Sophie Breitwiser in ages 13-14 girls.

“As you can see, our girls did a great job carrying us, but everyone truly showed up,” Lucash assessed. “We had swimmers finish races that they had not swam all year to get our team valuable points.  Our coaches were truly amazed at the effort from our kids.  They were all awarded with that trophy at the end of the meet.”

The coaches for the Piranhas this season were Andrea Kuergeleis and Ryan Ebeler.

On Sunday, the summer swimming club hosted its end-of-season awards banquet to celebrate the Piranhas’ success.

They gave out new swimmer awards, high-point awards, the Piranha Award (celebrating what it means to be a good teammate) and MVPs.  

Chosen as MVPs this season were Wyatt Ebeler (junior boy), Reese  Davis-Grandcolas (junior girl), Peyton Vest (senior girl) and Jake Watson (senior boy).

For more information on the Piranhas, visit waterloopiranhas.com or email waterloopiranhas@gmail.com.

Waterloo Piranhas coaches Andrea Kuergeleis and Ryan Ebeler pose with the Kaskaskia Conference trophy. 
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