New Canaan YMCA Announces Seniors Competing in College

The New Canaan YMCA proudly announced that 16 athletes from its three competitive aquatics teams will continue their education and athletics at the collegiate level. The high school class of 2020 graduates include athletes from the Aquianas Synchronized Swimming Team, Caimans Swim Team, and the Whirlwind Diving Team. “We are proud as an organization to have played a role in the growth of our aquatic teams’ seniors. In watching them thrive in an out of the pool, we have all the confidence that these athletes will be successful as they enter this new and exciting chapter of their lives,” commented Craig Panzano, Executive Director.

Athletes Include:

Aquianas Synchronized Swimming Team:
Emmanuella Tchakmakjian – Stanford University
Caimans Swim Team:
Patrick Colwell – U.S. Naval Academy
Bennett Ehret – Washington & Lee University
Timothy Manzella – College of the Holy Cross
Alexandra Mehos – Colgate University
Sophia Yee – Colgate University
Whirlwind Diving Team:
Katelyn Cerulli – College of the Holy Cross
Jackson Comporin – Trinity College
Emma Gravgaard – University of Pittsburgh
Emma Hunter – Denison University
Elisabeth Katz – University of Connecticut
Katie Laverty – Harvard University
George Moore – U.S. Naval Academy
James Ragusa – University of Massachusetts Amherst
Julia Servas – University of Delaware
Farrah Volpintesta – University of Southern California

In line with the Y’s mission for youth development and healthy living, according to Swimming World Magazine, participating in competitive aquatics improves, social well-being, teaches goal orientation, team-building skills and confidence, and leads to an active adult lifestyle, among other benefits.

Aquianas Senior, Emmanuella (Emma) Tchakmakjian, shared, “The Aquianas experience gave me more than just a sport to love; it gave me a family. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without the support, love, and companionship from the team. Experiencing the power of social collaboration and mutual dedication firsthand, I’ve gained skills that prepare me for life, and I am forever grateful.”

Caimans Senior, Alexandra Mehos, asserted, “Swimming on the Caimans has taught me time management, hard work, and mental toughness. The dedication needed to push yourself and achieve goals in swimming will translate to college, jobs, and everyday life.”

Whirlwind Diving Senior, Emma Gravgaard, shared, “My Whirlwind experience has taught me to be a leader and to enjoy the smaller memories. I believe that the characteristic of being a leader will follow me through the rest of my life and will enable me to be successful. Additionally, I can continue to cherish the smaller moments and look back on my Whirlwind experience for many years to come.”

The class of 2020 senior swimmers on the Y’s three competitive aquatics teams are one of the largest groups of athletes to move on to the collegiate level in 10 years, with many receiving All American titles.

“I am excited for our Class of 2020 seniors. We had six high school All Americans in the group and they have worked hard over the years. They are all going to great schools where they will enjoy their student-athlete experience,” shared Joe Somma, Director of Whirlwind Diving. “I am so thrilled to see one of our largest graduating classes heading off to the schools of their dreams. Graduating six All-Americans is a huge accomplishment for our team. We are proud of each of them and wish them the best in their future beyond their high school and college careers. It has been an honor to coach these athletes and have them be part of our program at the Y,” added Adam Vance, Associate Director of Whirlwind Diving.

“We are so proud of all of our seniors, but it is extra special when one of our athletes decides to continue synchro in college. We know that Emma will continue to shine both in and out of the pool,” commented Jen Muyzk, Director of the Aquianas Synchronized Swimming program.

“This year’s senior class was comprised of seven members. Out of the seven members, five of them are going on to swim at the next level in collegiate swimming. Four of the five will be swimming the next level at a Division I program and one of the four will be heading to a Division III program. Three of the four were invited to sign a national letter of intent in November for their schools. This is the most signed swimmers and most Division I swimmers on one class in recent memory,” said Brian Fazzino, Associate Director of Competitive Swimming and Head Coach of the Caimans Seniors.

Fazzino added, “The senior class had a shortened season and a very interesting and difficult year that they had to navigate through with so much uncertainty. They had to adapt and go to an online learning system in both the classroom as well as the swim team. As a result, they have really stepped up as leaders, stayed engaged, and helped lead the team through uncharted waters with the online drylands and the online mental training. I know that this year will help them grow and they will learn a lot from this experience. They will be more ready and more suitable for difficult and adverse conditions in the future. I look forward to seeing where they all end up and how they become contributing members of today’s society.”

To learn more about the Y’s three competitive aquatic teams, contact Jen Muzyk, Director of the Aquianas Synchronized swimming program:, Suzanne Lancey, Director of Caimans Competitive Swimming:, and Joe Somma, Director of Whirlwind Diving: