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Northern Sierra Aquatics sending 27 youth swimmers to Junior Olympics

The Northern Sierra Aquatics swim club is taking 27 youth swimmers to the Junior Olympics in Folsom Friday. Here the team poses for a photo after a Saturday morning practice.
Walter Ford/wford@theunion.com |

The top-level youth swimmers from Northern Sierra Aquatics are headed to the Junior Olympics in Folsom Friday and diving in against the best from around the region.

“They go to normal meets and see a lot of the same kids and the same kids win the same awards,” said Northern Sierra Aquatics coach Ethan Green. “This is another level. A bigger pond out there. It shows them there is more than we are used to in our little area. It helps them set their goals higher and see if they can achieve more than what they have done at the local meets. It allows them to set their sights a little higher in a bigger pond.”

The Nevada County based swim club is taking 27 of its youth swimmers from ages 7-14 to compete at this year’s event. It’s one of the largest groups the NSA has sent to the annual meet.



“This is probably the largest group that we have had since Northern Sierra Aquatics has been together,” said Green. “There are more younger kids that have come in the past few years, and they are just now getting to that JO level.”

“I don’t think there are any nerves. One kid even said to me that she thinks she will be faster because she is really excited. I think it’s an excited feeling that they have. I don’t think they are nervous. They are amped up about it, which is good.”Ethan GreenNorthern Sierra Aquatics coach

The group from Northern Sierra Aquatics is a mixed bag of experience with some swimmers going to their seventh Junior Olympics and others experiencing it for the first time.




“There are some kids that have experience but for the majority of the group this is their first Junior Olympics and going to a meet of this level,” said Green. “It’s a group that is rapidly learning.”

For Elizabeth Brouwer, who has competed in several Junior Olympics and will compete in the girls 13-14 age group, the competition brings out the best in her.

“I like having hard events, and being challenged and I also like having fun,” she said.

For Mia Axelman, who will be swimming in the girls 9-10 age group, the sport allows her to combine the fun of being on a team with her friends with her competitive nature.

“It’s nice to work as a team and have fun,” she said. “It’s also fun to compete and be like, ‘I want to win this.’”

No matter the motivation or the level of experience, Green said there isn’t a nervous kid in the bunch.

“I don’t think there are any nerves,” he said. “One kid even said to me that she thinks she will be faster because she is really excited. I think it’s an excited feeling that they have. I don’t think they are nervous. They are amped up about it, which is good.”

The meet runs from Friday through Sunday with the top swimmers in each event and age group advancing to the Far Western meet.

The 27 youth swimmers that will be representing Northers Sierra Aquatics at the Junior Olympics are Liam Cutter, Chelsea Herron, Robin Lawless, Evelyn Mitsuda, Mia Axelman, Riley Madigan, Caitlyn Sullivan, Elizabeth Brouwer, Emma Cutter, Gavin Elias, Jaden Huerta, Kate Oebker, Max Oebker, Kayla Spin, Sophie Vigil, Colin Gallagher, Oren Stallings, Aubrey Nattrass, Chloe Hughes, Kiri Flatter, Emma Lawless, Clara Lawless, Tyler Nattrass, Elle Larsen, Feliz Mathews, Hannah Molitor and Emily Starnes.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.


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