Clovis High’s Amber Espinoza spent 3 years swimming in Germany before she moved to Clovis with her family in 2003. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer
Clovis sophomore Amber Espinoza says there’s not much difference between competitive youth swimming in America and Germany.
She knows from first-hand experience — she swam in Germany for three years.
“It’s pretty much the same,” Espinoza said, “except at championships there are way more teams than there are here.”
Espinoza started swimming at age 9 in San Antonio. With her military family, she move to Germany in 2000. The Espinoza return to the states in 2003.
“My dad looked into it when (we were in Germany) and we knew we were moving here,” she said of the third-year Clovis swimming program. “He just asked around, and I just joined.”
Espinoza said the biggest thing she learned while swimming in Germany was to get plenty of rest before meets.
“Before, I never used to sleep on the way to meets because I thought it would tire me out,” she said. “But now I sleep all the time.”
The Clovis swimmers go on the road today to the Artesia Invitational.
“The three primary teams are going to be us, Las Cruces, and Hobbs,” Clovis coach Vincent DeMaio said. “On an individual basis, we’re going to win some races. As a team, our ‘B’ kids really have to come up and do well for us to compete. I think we’ll do well.”
DeMaio said Espinoza had a good meet last weekend at the Albuquerque Academy Invitational.
“She not only swam her best time in the 100 (meter butterfly), but also her best times in the 100 free (freestyle), the 200 free, and the 400 free relays,” DeMaio said.
Her best event, he said, is the butterfly.
“The fly is a timing stroke,” DeMaio said. “It’s a very hard stroke to swim and it’s a very hard stroke to swim fast. She has a very natural fly.”
Though the butterfly is her best, DeMaio said the sophomore excels at every stroke.
“She’s a good all-around swimmer,” DeMaio said. “She’s a hard worker. I think she’s really going to be a strong swimmer for us in the coming years.”
At Academy, the Clovis girls finished 10th and the Clovis boys finished 17th. DeMaio said the meet was extremely competitive.
“The 100 breaststroke that Alyssa Pyeatt swam in was basically the state finals,” DeMaio said. “First place was 1:12.25, and Alyssa was fifth at 1:12.75.”
DeMaio said every detail is important when the margin of victory is so small.
“Every aspect of the stroke, the finish, the start, the turns, is important obviously,” he said. “When the difference between winning and losing is two one hundredths of a second, everything becomes very important.”