By Eric Butler
Familiarity has been a major factor in the Clovis High swimming team’s improvement over a year ago. Now, some of the Wildcats are hoping a second look at the state meet this weekend will provide some fruitful results.
While last season — the first in the school’s history in having a swim team — meant a string of last-place finishes, the Clovis girls have been more of a middle-of-the-pack squad in 2003-04.
“We did really well with all our competitions. Last year, we mostly had all last-places,” Clovis coach Sheryl Holloway said. “This time, out of about nine or ten teams, we had some fourth- or fifth-place finishes, so we’re moving up.
“All the girls improved immensely. It was just fabulous to see the way they achieved their goals.”
Juniors Erin Holland and Jessica Whitehead, sophomore Alyssa Pyeatt and eighth-grader Amber Espinoza all came close to state-qualifying times in individual events.
“I was about two seconds off,” Whitehead said of her 50-meter freestyle time. “But it was three or four seconds last year.”
The four will represent the team in three relay events next week. Also going as alternates will be Tabitha Barnett, Kristin Curtis, Anna Davis and Victoria Erdmann.
Even without individual qualifiers, each team gets to participate in the 200-meter medley relay, 200-meter freestyle relay and 400-meter freestyle relay.
The state tournament will be held at Albuquerque Academy beginning with preliminary races on Friday morning.
Whitehead said the Lady Wildcats should be much better prepared for state this year.
“Last year, it was a lot scarier because it was our first year. Everything was just so intimidating — all the teams were new, all the places we went to were new,” Whitehead said. “This year, we know where we’re going and it’s just been a lot more fun because we know what to expect.”
Because of the snow that hit Clovis, the Wildcats’ swimmers were unable to get into the water on Thursday or Friday. But Holloway says that, weather permitting, it’ll be back to work on Monday.
“We’ll do a little bit of timing, some starts and turns, but basically we’re just trying to maintain the level that we’re at and not have any injuries,” Holloway said.