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John Geigle YMCA has some top-notch players

Courtesy of Kat Orr
Pickleball players fill the courts at the John Geigle YMCA.

Expansion plans are in the forefront at the John Geigle YMCA with about $28,000 raised from a tournament in February, but there is something else noteworthy about that facility in Palm Harbor.

Aside from the courts being reconfigured for four pickleball-only surfaces and two combined for pickleball and tennis, plenty of talented competitors who practice and play there have fared well in recent tournaments.

Courtesy of Kat Orr
Kat Orr and Cynthia Swartz were gold medalists in the Tunnel to Towers tournament.

Count Kat Orr and Cynthia Swartz among that group. They were gold medalists in women’s 3.0 doubles 50-and-over at the Tunnel to Towers tournament in Oldsmar.

That marked their second tourney as partners. Orr and Swartz were bronze medalists in the YMCA’s tourney last October.

“We stayed in the winner’s bracket the whole time,” Orr said of the Tunnel to Towers series.

“Although we met some fierce competitors along the way, in the end we wound up on top.”

For her part, Orr does not believe there is any deep, dark secret to the solid players at the local YMCA. It simply comes down to “practice, practice, practice. Several of us received our

foundation of play from the pro there, Robert Carlbo. He’s a good coach.”

Also at that tourney, Elena Wiener and Yvette Sud won in women’s 3.5 doubles 50-and-over.

“That was the first tournament Elena and I played together so to win it was awesome,” Sud said.

Courtesy of Ed Rogers
Ed Rogers and Tom Sroda won gold in a fundraiser to refurbish courts at the John Geigle YMCA.

Wiener was playing in Tunnel to Towers for a second straight time but had a different partner last year.

“I have participated in five charity tournaments. This was by far the best,” said Wiener, adding, “Yvette is an Army veteran and my father-in-law was in NYFD (New York Fire Department), so honoring our military and our heroes was an honor.”

Four other players from the John Geigle YMCA have earned medals in recent tourneys.

Ed Rogers and Tom Sroda found success in their first tournament together, winning gold medals in the men’s 3.5 55-and-over division of the Dink to Donate tourney played in February to raise money for the refurbished courts at the John Geigle YMCA.

Courtesy of Yvette Sud
Elena Wiener and Yvette Sud won in the first tournament they ever played together.

Once the courts are finished sometime this summer, Rogers feels that “they’ll have bigger crowds. I believe they (already) have the level of talent there.”

‘We’re working on having some dedicated (pickleball) courts, which hopefully will bring higher-level play,” said Lisa Warren, the facility’s executive director.

Others, like Jude Campbell, Ken Gacsy, Robyn Crane and Karen Topolski, have found plenty of success in tournaments as well.


Times Total Media Correspondent

Photos courtesy of Kat Orr, Ed Rogers and Yvette Sud

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