Clovis sophomore Durga Kesavan swims the breaststroke during practice Thursday at the Play, Inc. pool. Photo by Eric Kluth
By Eric Butler
The numbers are cut in half from a year ago, but Clovis High swimming coach Sheryl Holloway believes the girls who have come out for the second year of the program are the end result of a weeding-out process.
Thus, they’re also the ones most committed to the sport, which suits Holloway fine.
“We started out with 40 and have ended up with 20. Of course, that was something that they had to learn — whether or not they really wanted to swim,” Holloway said. “We’ll make up for the losses; it’s just kind of an exchange. But we’ve got a good size (group).”
The second-year program begins competition Saturday with a meet in Hobbs.
Holloway said the team’s main goal is to see the girls lower their times over the course of the season.
“The outstanding swimmers are also going to be the ones who have been swimming with the USA team,” said Holloway, who also coaches the United States Swimming Club in Clovis. “I do have some who have progressed pretty well.”
Versatile sophomore Alissa Pyeatt will lead the charge for the Lady Wildcats.
According to her coach, Pyeatt is adept at every stroke and capable of qualifying for state competition.
“Alissa swims anything. Anything I can put her in, she’ll swim,” Holloway said. “Alyssa Pyeatt can compete on the state level.”
Pyeatt feels the breaststroke is her best event.
“I really want to try to make it to state for breaststroke — I was probably five seconds off (last year). I can do it. I don’t know if I will, but I’ll try.”
As for the rest of the team, the CHS coach is hopeful.
“We’ve got some good relay teams that we’ll take to state — I know that,” Holloway said. “Jessie Whitehead might be able to — it just depends on her freestyle.”
Some of the other top Clovis swimmers include juniors Erin Holland, Kristen Curtis and Pyeatt’s younger sister, Laura, a freshman.
Virginia Lee is one of four seniors on the team.
Holloway said the biggest obstacle for the swimming program is the limited number of facilities. Though she’s grateful for the ability to use the Play, Inc. pool in Clovis for practicing, the venue is too small for the Wildcats to host meets.
“The program still needs a natatorium. Educationally wise, we are lacking a facility and probably that’s the only thing that’s holding us back,” Holloway said.