Prep swimming season previews
Top returners: Boys — Andrew Russell-Cheung, sr., Ryan Keough, sr.; Girls — Jesse Kaba, jr., Maggie McClure, sr.
Key newcomers: Boys — Dominic Esquer, fr.; Girls — Vanessa Altamirano, fr., Destiny Bravo, fr.
Coach Richard McClure’s comments: “It’s pretty obvious that the boys team is going through a rebuilding process, but I still think it will be a good year for both teams. It will be exciting to see the new kids improve as the year goes on.”
The Lowdown: The boys team graduated 12 seniors and had only one freshman come out for the team and he was new to the sport. The three returning seniors for the boys did have experience at state last year. The girls side, however, has plenty of new additions to the team and will rely on the upperclassmen to provide leadership for the newcomers.
— compiled by Nick Miller
Top returners: Boys — Martin Porchas, sr.; Ethan Munoz, sr.; Alejandro Valladua, sr.; Cody Duran, jr.; Glen Lehman, jr.; Girls — Emily Hieber, sr.; Bethany Daniel, soph; Adly Wiley, jr.
Key newcomers: Boys — Kyle Chappell, soph.; Girls — Bianca Rollins, fresh.
Coach Amber Pacewic’s comments: “I think our swimmers are going to be tough, the ones that we have. When we lose all those seniors, next year is going to be tough.”
The Lowdown: While there’s only 12 boy swimmers and 10 on the girls’ side, Pacewic expects her senior-heavy team — nine in total — to be very competitive this year. Among the top returners is Hieber, who is looking to set the school record in the 100 butterfly. She’s been close, even besting her mom Jenny’s time, which was the record for two decades until Katelyn Weddle broke it with a time of 1 minute, 1 second. Pacewic said the younger Hieber has been battling through some injuries.
— compiled by Edward Carifio
Yuma High Criminals
Top returners: Boys — Issac Cenciceros, sr., Robert Groggett, soph.; Girls — Elizabeth August, sr., Claudia Fimbres, soph.
Key newcomers: Boys — Anthony Spaugh, jr., Juan Covarrubias, soph.; Girls — Byanka Delgado, soph.
Coach Jon Rochelle’s comments: “I really want to take some of our swimmers to state. That’s the big goal. The other goal is that we really want a winning record. We kind of want to be the underdog. We are, by far, the smallest team, but every swimmer works really hard and we have a lot of talent.”
The Lowdown: The Criminals have a smaller team than that of their competition. This means that they won’t have as many options when it comes to competing in certain events. Also, coach Rochelle fears that because of their size, they won’t qualify for certain races and that they will be giving up points to other teams. But Rochelle said that as other schools have canceled their practices due to the weather, the Criminals haven’t done that. That extra practice time could give them an edge when it comes time for competition.
— compiled by Erin Redmond
Gila Ridge Hawks
Top returners: Boys — Chace Williams, sr., Westin Lines, jr., Andrew Haynes, sr., Joseph Salerno, jr.; Girls — Kayla Hodgin, sr., Heather Casares
Key newcomers: Boys — Logan Osborn, fr.; Girls — Emily Gough, fr.
Coach Heather LaVin’s comments: “What I’d really like to see happen this season is for our girls to become returning regional champs. They won regionals last year and it’d be great to do it again. Our boys were runners-up last year. I have a really strong boys team and they are really excited about shooting for a regional win. So it’d be great to win for both the boys and the girls at regionals.”
The Lowdown: Even though Osborn and Gough are only freshmen, they have already shown their leadership in the water. The addition of these two young swimmers improves the chances for the Hawks to become regional champions for both the girls and boys teams.
— compiled by Erin Redmond