September 28, 2020
CMA and Maine Swimming are mourning the loss of Hall-of-Fame member Emily Caras Snyder. Emily passed away unexpectedly on September 17th from cardiac arrest.
Emily began swimming for Coastal Maine Aquatics (CMA) in 1993 at the age of six. As her swimming career progressed, she set several state records across multiple age groups and currently still holds 34 of those records. In 1998, at the age of 10, she was ranked number one in the country in the 100-yard butterfly (1:02.73), 100-yard freestyle (56.91), and 50-yard butterfly (28.27). That year, she was Eastern Zone champion in all three events, and her time in the 100-yard butterfly was an Eastern Zone record and the second fastest of all time. When she was 12, she was ranked first nationally in the 200-yard freestyle (1:53.94) and 200-yard butterfly (2:08.93). At that time her butterfly was a National Age Group Record.
Emily attended Cape Elizabeth High School and graduated in 2005. She was a dominant high school swimmer, setting five Maine high school state records and becoming an NISCA All-American in the 500 free (5:03.53). Emily served as Cape Elizabeth High School team captain in 2003 and 2004. Emily also swam in three open water swimming competitions fundraising for the Maine Special Olympics. She received the Maine Special Olympics Recognition Award – as the largest fundraiser by an individual – in addition to planning and helping to run the 2003 Cumberland County Special Olympics Swim Meet.
Emily attended Cornell University and graduated in 2010. While at Cornell, she was a four-year varsity letter winner and team captain during her senior year. Emily set four Cornell school records, in the 200-yard free (1:51.89), 200-yard butterfly (2:03.14) and 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays. While at Cornell, Emily represented the women’s swim team on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, and was a member of Cornell’s 400 Club, achieving a 4.0 GPA while participating in a varsity sport.
Beyond all of these accomplishments, Emily was equally known for her personality. Leanne Pedro noted “When I coached Emily, she was a shining example of light, energy, and compassion. She possessed the most tremendous dedication and work ethic I’ve ever seen in 30+ years of coaching. She was a champion for all levels and types of people in and out of the water…and she had a heart of gold.” Likewise, Jay Morissette remembers Emily as “a walking ray of light on deck and always smiling. It was always a pleasure to watch her race.”
In 2014, Emily married her husband Charley and in 2018 they welcomed twin daughters, Olivia and Caroline. She is also survived by her parents, Sally and Matt; and her brother, Scott and his wife Corey and their three boys Tucker, Cam, and Griffin; her in-laws, Sue Chinn and Tom Snyder; her brother-in-law, Colin Snyder; her maternal grandmother, Marcia Clayton; her paternal grandfather, Ophair Caras; her husband’s maternal grandmother, Linda Hill-Chinn; and by numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. A celebration of life will be held at a future date when it is safe for friends and family to come together.
In her honor, the Maine Swimming Board of Directors has approved the “Emily Caras Snyder Memorial Scholarship.”