February 16, 2015
Matthew Charest, 16, of Lewiston, will represent the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA’s Twin Cities Swim Team at this year’s national YMCA swim meet being held in Greensboro, N.C., on March 30.
Matt Charest of Twin Cities Swim Team takes his place on the block at a recent meet.
The Lewiston High School junior qualified in the 100-yard breast stroke during last weekend’s all-star meet, featuring 200 of Maine’s top YMCA swimmers. He broke two meet records in the process, with a time of 201.17 seconds in the individual medley, and 100.49 seconds in the 100-yard breastroke.
Twin Cities coach Tom Manduca says, “Matthew had a nice meet and should be even faster in a few weeks at the bigger meets. He isn’t even rested yet”
“Matt’s that great combination of natural talent and drive. He’s a role model on the team as well as a top performer. As his coach, there’s not much more I could ask for.”
Matt is the fourth swimmer Tom has sent to Y nationals in the last 10 years.
The Y swim league includes 16 Maine teams who each compete against each other throughout the winter season in various dual meets. The season is capped off with the state meet held at the University of Maine in Orono.
The Twin Cities Swim Team, whose mascot is the sea lions, is among the most competitive teams in the state.
For most swimmers in Maine, the state meet is the end of the season. With this most recent performance, Matt will be extending his season another month.
The best YMCA swimmers from around the country will be there — but then I think, ‘So will I.’
“Swimming at the Y made me a better athlete for sure,” says Matt, who has competed with Twin Cities since he was 6 and is now team co-captain. “It also taught me confidence. I’ve learned a lot about being a member of a team.
“I may be the one going to North Carolina, but I’m representing the entire team. It’s really an honor.”
Matt’s attitude is representative of the sportsmanship that is at the core of the Y’s youth sports program. In addition to swimming, the program includes basketball, gymnastics, cross country skiing and field hockey. Children and teens in these programs are taught the principles of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility in keeping with the Y’s character-building mission.
Matt is also captain of the Lewiston High School swim team. He says he is ready for some tough competition in North Carolina.
“It’s a little intimidating knowing the best YMCA swimmers from around the country will be there — but then I think, ‘So will I.’”
This past year, 100 local youth ages 5 to 18 participated on the Twin Cities Swim Team. Another 400 children were enrolled in the Y’s swim lesson program, which serves all ages and ability levels.