Three county youths set to compete in AAU Junior Olympics

July 29, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

In a week, Andy and Laurel Brabson of Boonsboro and Cassie Dobrzanski of Maugansville will be heading to Knoxville, Tenn., determined to set new swimming records at the AAU Junior Olympics.

All are members of the Monocacy Aquatic Club in Frederick, Md., and represent Washington County.

The national meet features all types of sports for young people and begins on Aug. 5. The swimming events, which will be in the University of Tennessee Aquatic Center, end Aug. 9, Cathy Dobrzanski said. She and her husband, Mark, plan to journey to Knoxville for the events involving their 12-year-old daughter.

Also making the journey to watch Cassie are her grandparents, Fred and Margaret Cornett of Clear Spring.

Cassie will be competing in 50-, 100-, 200- and 400-meter freestyle, 50- and 100-meter breaststroke, 50-meter butterfly and 200-meter individual medley.


Her strong event is the 50-meter breaststroke. Just three weeks ago, Cassie broke a 27-year-old local record in that event at Hagerstown's Northwood Swim Club.

"What is so amazing about that is my husband, Mark - Cassie's father - still holds the 11-12-year-old boys record for the same event, which he set 28 years ago at Northwood," said Cathy Dobrzanski. "It's a family affair."

On a roll, Cassie toppled another 20-year-old record July 20 at Lambert Pool in Martinsburg, W.Va., in the 100-meter freestyle event, her mother said.

"I started when I was 5 at the Hagerstown YMCA," Cassie said. But after the longtime swim coaches at the YMCA left, Cassie switched to the Monocacy club in Frederick.

"Now I swim two hours a day, six days a week ... all year long," Cassie said.

Laurel's story is similar, starting at the YMCA and switching to Frederick. Also 12, Laurel is competing in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyle, 50- and 100-meter butterfly, 50- and 100-meter backstroke, and the 200-meter individual medley.

"I'm really excited," Laurel said.

Her brother, Andy, has had to temper his excitement recently. Although he is still going to the competition, a severed tendon in his big toe may keep him out of the pool once he gets to Knoxville.

"I'm questionable for the Olympics," Andy said, explaining how a kayak mishap two weeks ago caused his injury.

If he is able to compete, Andy is scheduled to swim in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyle, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke, 100- and 200-meter backstroke and the 200-meter individual medley.

Andy and Laurel will have their parents, Liz and Paul Brabson, cheering them on. The family members are journeying in cars and have been told they need to stay at different motels from the team along the way.

"They need to get psyched as a team," Cathy Dobrzanski said.

Head coach Chris Gibea and his staff will also make the trip to Knoxville for the first appearance by the Monocacy Aquatic Club team at the Junior Olympics.

The other members of the team competing in Knoxville are Lauren, Sarah and Allison Aichele; Kristin and Matt Ainsworth; Aubrey and Lauren Galla; Daniel Bernstein, John Hogan, Sara Noonan, Max Lollar, Kelsey Tokar, Christine Mankus, Alex Tomasky, Sarah Mott, Katrina Hubbard, Katie Carroll, Hilary Hoesing, Tim Wilmont and Liz Lebherz.

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