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A Uniontown girl, 17, will swim like butterfly in junior national meet Francis Scott Key student qualifies in 200-yard race; 1st in her club to compete

A 17-year-old swimmer from Uniontown will be the first from the Green Terror Aquatic Club to compete in the U.S. Swimming Association's junior national competition.

Marie P. Tomarelli, a junior at Francis Scott Key High School, qualified in the 200-yard butterfly at a March 3 meet at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Junior and senior nationals are scheduled in August in Alabama.

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"I knew I could do it, but it was a relief to get it over with," Marie said.

She qualified for the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2: 07.98. She was .07 of a second off in the 100-yard butterfly and .5 second off in the 400-yard individual medley.

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If Marie finishes among the top eight junior competitors in August, she will be eligible to compete at the senior level.

"She's an excellent all-around swimmer with a great attitude," said Kim Easterday, assistant coach of the aquatic club and Western Maryland College's swim coach.

The aquatic club, which is based at Western Maryland's pool, has "a handful of others who are following in [Marie's] footsteps that hopefully will qualify soon," Easterday said. Swimmers range in age from 5 to 18.

Marie got interested in swimming when, as a child in New Jersey, she had a baby sitter who was on a swim team.

"She told me I'd have lots of fun and make friends," the teen-ager said. "I was kind of oblivious to the fact that I'd [also] be swimming."

The Tomarelli family moved to Maryland in 1990. Marie swam with the Carroll County YMCA team in 1992 and then joined the University of Maryland Baltimore County Retriever Swim Club. That swim club's Westminster branch now is the Green Terror Aquatic Club.

Swimming turned out to be, as Marie's baby sitter had promised, lots of fun.

"And we all have special bonds," she said.

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Her sister, Katy, 14, an eighth-grader at New Windsor Middle School, also swims with the local club.

Competitive swimming requires long days. Five days a week, Marie gets up at 4: 30 a.m. and is in the water by 5: 30 a.m. She swims for an hour and a half and makes it to school by 7: 30 a.m.

She returns home by 3 p.m. to do homework -- she maintains a 4.0 average -- and squeezes in 45 minutes of flute practice. She goes back to the pool for two hours of night swim practice Monday through Thursday.

"Then, I eat," she said. "I eat whenever I can."

Marie said her parents, Richard and Kathy Tomarelli, don't pressure her.

"If I'm upset because I didn't swim well, they're like, 'That's OK.' They don't push, they just pay," she said.

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She estimated it costs her family about $1,800 a year for swim club memberships for her and her sister, swim meet entry fees and travel expenses.

Pub Date: 5/09/96


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