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Gough goes from alternate to state placer to earn award
Adly Wiley, Kofa
Emmalee Nitelet, Yuma
Haylee Dahl, Gila Ridge
Lauren Hernandez, Gila Ridge
Jesse Kaba, Cibola
Sarah Russell-Cheung, Cibola
Anna Gould, Cibola
Last year Emily Gough was on the outside looking in at state.
She placed 17th in the preliminaries, which was good for the first alternate. After waiting around for someone to not show up, Gough realized she didn't want to be standing around this year.
She succeeded, and was named the Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club 2012 Girls Swimming Player of the Year after a strong state effort.
“I started putting in the hours in the pool and I started doing better,” Gough said. “As a team we did great, everybody started improving. Our strokes got better and towards the end, you could tell we had a pretty good team.”
Gough quit hitting the snooze button and started hitting the pool. With morning practices Monday, Wednesday, Friday and weight training Tuesday and Thursday, Gough was to say the least busy.
“It was definitely worth it. My results showed that it was a good sacrifice to make.”
At state this year, Gough wasn't waiting around. Despite her experience at state as a freshman, the nerves were still flowing.
“I was so nervous. I was standing there shaking. I was so nervous because I knew that this was a big opportunity for me to go fast.”
And go fast she did. Gough qualified 13th and finished 10th overall in the 200-yard freestyle.
Gough had a few choices to make going into the state championships. She qualified for the 100-, 200- and 500-yard freestyle races and ended up going with the longer of the three.
“A lot of swimmers are able to do the 100 freestyle,” said Gila Ridge coach Heather LaVin. “But those swimmers can't necessarily do what Emily can do, which is also the 200 and the 500. In that regard she's very talented, but for her to be able get the best placing she could, she chose the right events for her.”
LaVin loved having Gough on her team for her work ethic in the pool and her personality out of it.
“She has fun but when it comes to practicing, she doesn't goof off a lot,” LaVin said. “She's definitely a team member for someone to look up to and she definitely has fun when it's time to have fun. She's got such a sweet personality, a wonderful smile. She's a wonderful student, just a really well-rounded student athlete, just one a coach would really love to have on their team.”
Like most player of the year caliber athletes, just because the high school season is over doesn't mean it is time to dry off.
Gough is swimming for the Yuma Heat, which is a little different than high school. The longest race in high school is 500 yards, while on the Heat, swimmers can compete in races up to a mile in length.
“You definitely have to push yourself in longer races and make sure you push yourself the entire time,” Gough said. “With sprints, you can just do them and get them over with. You have to mentally prepare yourself for the races here.”
Although Gough is only a sophomore, because her family is moving at the end of the year, LaVin said Gough will be missed.