When Gabby Carr was eight years old and the YMCA first opened on the Island she joined the Makos, the Vineyard’s youth swim team. She recalled being challenged at first because she wasn’t a competitive or outgoing person. However, once she realized how fast she could swim, she knew she had found her calling.

Fast forward nine years and Gabby Carr leads the girls high school swim team as a junior, setting a pool record this year in the 500-meter freestyle with a time of 5:37.57. She has also qualified for states in the 200 and 500-meter freestyle and will compete at sectionals in those same events as well as the 200-meter individual medley.

A captain on this year’s team, Gabby, along with co-captain and best friend Abigail Hammarlund, has led the young girls squad with poise and confidence through a tough year of building toward the future

“She’s like a coach’s dream,” said swim coach Jonathan Chatinover. “It’s not just that she’s a great swimmer because she is, it’s that she works hard every day and puts her heart and soul into it. And that’s all you can ask for. It’s a joy to be able to coach her.”

Gabby started her high school swimming career in eighth grade.

“It was a good experience starting in eighth grade, to see how I compared to older people,” she said. “I actually won most of the races.”

She specializes in longer distance swims. And while others might enjoy long relaxing ocean swims, Gabby prefers to do her training in the pool. It’s not that she’s against the beach, she just finds the ocean to be “sort of messy” and isn’t a fan of unexpected encounters with marine life.

But in the pool she is perfectly content. “It’s calming to continuously swim, it’s the right amount of competitiveness,” she said.

During summers she works at the Chilmark Flea Market but would like to add lifeguard at the YMCA to her resume. Her favorite subject in school is science, specifically biology. She said she hopes to continue to swim competitively in college while studying to become a marine biologist or a zoologist.

Once the swim season ends, Gabby will move on to outdoor track in the spring. She plans to run the 400-meter dash and also toss the discus and shot put. She also has a new pet dwarf hamster to take care of named Ban Ban.

This year’s regular season concluded on Tuesday against Sacred Heart. Gabby won the 200-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly and contributed to the winning 400-meter freestyle relay. Continuing in the family tradition, her younger brother Andrue won the 100-meter butterfly and took second place in the 100-meter backstroke, as an eighth grader on the team.