The Wheeling YMCA swim team began in 1954 in the YMCA building on 20thStreet in Wheeling, WV.  The team has progressed and grown in the 58 years it has been in existence. It will later affiliate with the AAU and US Swimming.

            There were several coaches during the YMCA’ first 18 years.  One was Bill McEldowney, who later became the Executive Director of the Wheeling YMCA.

In 1972, Paul Blair, the swim coach at Linsly came on board.   The team practiced and swam meets at the J. B.  Chambers Branch YMCA.  It was called the Ohio Valley Y Swim Team

            In 1979, John Lyons came on board as the head coach.  Also the coach at Linsly the team was under John’s direction for one year.

            For the 1980 season the team which had dropped in size was coached by two of the parents.

            Bill Brubaker became the coach in May of 1981, and coached to the summer of 2013.  During this time the team will under go a couple of name changes.  In order to keep in line with US Swimming rules, the name changed to the Wheeling YMCA Swim Team/J. B. Chambers Branch.

            Several years later in an effort to work with Wheeling Jesuit University (head coach Rick West),  the program became Cardinal Aquatics/J. B. Chambers YMCA.

In 2013 the program had several major changes.  First to correspond with the new name of the Wheeling YMCA (formerly J. B. Chambers Branch), the team changed their name to Wheeling YMCA - Cardinal Aquatics Swim team (WHY).  Second, the team announced a new head coach in long time assistant Rick Riedel. The current head coach is Tony Sunseri.


  • The team has been a growing and developing program throughout the years.
  • The team has had three YMCA National Champions:

            1977 – Alex Welker – Spring Nationals – 200 Yard Freestyle Champion

            1995 – Jennifer Loew – Spring Nationals – One Meter Diving Champion

            2019 - Mia Sunseri - Summer Nationals - 200 Meter Breast Champion


     The team has had numerous swimmers place at Y Spring and Summer Nationals. It has also had several Great Lakes Zone Champions.  It continues to be successful in the SEOWV Swimming Cluster. 

       We have had two of our swimmers Qualify for the US Olympic Trials. Michael Eaton qualified in the 100 breaststroke while attending Ohio State in 2016. Mia Sunseri qualified in the 200 breaststroke in 2021 while attending Wheeling Park High School.

     Swimmers from the program have competed at all levels of NCAA competition:

Ohio State, Penn State, West Virginia, Pitt, Marshall, Wheeling University, Fairmont University, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Bucknell, Southern Illinois, Toledo, Ohio Northern, Ashland, Davis & Elkins, and the Air Force and Naval Acadamies to list a few.

    Former swimmers and coaches have done well in the coaching ranks with coaches involved at The Berkeley School, The Bolles School, Ohio State, Pitt, Rice, Wheeling University, WVU and many area high schools.

            The program currently rosters approximately 100 swimmers and uses two facilities, the Chambers YMCA, The Linsly School.