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Dominant Kaba returns for Cibola
Jesse Kaba has one last chance to shine.
Her future in swimming is uncertain, but right now she is living in the moment.
The senior has been a star for Cibola in the breaststroke, making the trip to the state championships last season, which earned her a top-10 finish.
Kaba's last season with the Raiders is just around the corner and with it came questions of whether this is something she wants to do for the long haul.
“I've been swimming for forever,” Kaba said.”I want something besides swimming.”
When she's in the water — at least for those few minutes — all those thoughts go away. Kaba is able to free her mind and just focus on the task at hand and that stems from her competitive nature.
“When we go to meets, the bigger the meet the more relaxed she is and the more fun she has,” Raiders coach Richard McClure said. “She's really good about not putting too much pressure on herself and I think that's going to be the key to her season this year. She just has to come back and enjoy it and have fun ...
“She's worked so hard in the offseason, probably harder than she's ever worked. At this point, she just needs to keep doing what she's doing and realize that this is something that she's very talented at and just have fun with it.”
Returning with Kaba this season are juniors Mallory Behr and Anna Gould as well as senior Lorenzo Chavez on the boys side. The Raiders also have some new, up-and-coming swimmers in Donnie Buthmann and Aiden Miner — both juniors — as well as freshmen Sarah Haws and Alina Gonzalez.
Cibola's roster is full of inexperienced swimmers, and this has opened up a new opportunity for Kaba to showcase her talents in a different way.
“I've been so impressed by her leadership this year, stepping up and helping the young kids,” McClure said. “She's been working with the new swimmers and she seems to enjoy that.
“A lot of our success depends on how well the young and inexperienced swimmers develop. About two-thirds of the team is fresh in the water, never having swam before. But the key is how well they develop in the next 12 weeks. If they develop really well and start swimming fast, we'll be great. If not, we'll be OK.”
Though whether or not Kaba will swim competitively in the future is still up in the air, she believes she'll always find herself in the water.
“I think that I'll always swim but I'm not sure about being on a team or in college. I'll always like to swim.”
Erin Redmond can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6880. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YSErinRedmond.