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Watertown Blue Sharks host swimming championship at brand new YMCA aquatic center

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Watertown brought home numerous first place finishes as hundreds of people walked through the doors of the new downtown YMCA this weekend for the CNY YMCA District Swimming Championship.

The Watertown YMCA Blue Sharks finished first overall in 8 and under girls, 8 and under boys, ages 9 to 10 boys, and ages 15 to 19 girls. The only team with more first place finishes was Auburn with five.

Seven YMCAs took part in the event with the Norwich, Fulton, Corland, Oneida, and Oneonta YMCAs joining Watertown and Auburn.

The event drew in so many people that tickets were given out to control the number of people by the pool. Once a spectator’s swimmer was done, they were to return to the pickleball court, where the swimmers were staged so another family could watch their swimmer.

Even though they weren’t poolside, spectators could still watch what was going on in the pool because of a flat screen television livestreaming the meet. Another television was on near the pool’s glass window viewing area and the event was also livestreamed on YouTube.

Seven YMCAs took part in the event.

Watertown Blue Sharks Coach Lori Peters said the setup for the meet was “perfect.”

She said it was also nice because the meet could be “contained” to the pool half of the YMCA.

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Watertown Blue Sharks to host District Swimming Championships at new YMCA

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For the first time, the new YMCA in Watertown will be the host of the CNY YMCA District Swimming Championship on Feb. 3 and 4 where the Watertown Blue Sharks will be the home team.

Teams do not have to qualify for the event, coach Lori Peters said. There will be seven YMCAs competing.

Auburn, Cortland, Fulton, Norwich, Oneida, Oneonta and Watertown will be competing in the event with 400 swimmers at the $27.5 million Community and Aquatics Center on Arsenal Street that opened in December.

Including swimmers, there could be 1,200 people at the event, Peters said.

Peters said they would not have been able to host this at the Watertown’s former YMCA on Washington Street because it did not have a regulation competition pool.

Blue Sharks hosted the event in 2015 at Watertown High School.

Typically, there is a rotation of seven years, so every seven years Watertown would host the event. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Watertown will be hosting the event for the first time in nine years.

Peters said she had the chance to host it last year, but wanted to wait until the new YMCA was ready.

She said the new YMCA is “beautiful.”

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