The Cibola girls swimming program is on the rise.
Between 2012-17, the Raiders did not finish ahead of Gila Ridge at the Colorado River Championships once. They’ve not only done so two years in a row now, but they’ve won the meet both times.
From 2016-17, the Raiders did not score a single point at the state meet. Last year they snapped that with their highest finish (23rd) in nearly a decade, and this year they did themselves five spots better with their highest finish (18th) since 1994.
At the center of it all is sophomore Emma Amon, whose arrival at Cibola coincides with the program’s turnaround.
Amon, the 2019 Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club Girls Swimmer of the Year, followed up a breakout freshman season with a school record-breaking sophomore one.
At state, she became the first Cibola girls swimmer ever to place top-10 in two events at the state’s highest classification, taking seventh in the Division I 100 breast and ninth in the 200 IM.
At regionals, she was named Most Outstanding Girls Swimmer as a four-event champ — the 100 breast and 200 IM individually, as well as the 200 medley and 400 free relays.
Locally, her season-best time in the 100 breast (1:06.90) was more than 10 seconds faster than anybody else’s, and her season-best time in the 200 IM (2:11.53) was more than 23 seconds faster than anybody else’s. She also ranked first locally in the 100 fly (1:00.40), which she seldom swam.
“I felt my season was pretty strong this year,” Amon said. “I got a lot of personal-bests and got a few team records, which was pretty cool.”
Last year, Amon qualified for state in the same two individual events, finishing 16th in the 100 breast and 29th in the 200 IM. This year, she shaved about 1.5 seconds off her 100 breast PR and about 5 seconds off her 200 IM PR.
She set her personal-bests in both events at state this year, while also helping the Raiders take 14th in the 200 medley relay.
“The big thing with Emma is she got her timing much better in that last race (at state),” Cibola coach Brad Broschat said. “That’s what we were working for all season. She swam what she was capable of, so that gives her some confidence going into her year-round season.”
Broschat praised Amon’s work ethic and mindset, noting that her year-round experience at the club level over the years has given her the belief that she belongs in the same pool as the state’s best.
“(She’s) not afraid of swimming at that level, and that’s really where we want to get more of our swimmers to, is to know that they belong there at state with that competition, and you can really see that (with Amon),” Broschat said.
Amon said her goal this year was to make it into an ‘A’ final at state, which she did in the 100 breast and narrowly missed doing in the 200 IM.
While Amon is no doubt the leader, she isn’t the only reason for the program’s rise. Three Cibola freshmen — Payton Doak, Lucy Lutterbeck and Ava Bazan — were selected to this year’s Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club all-region team, giving the Raiders a strong nucleus for years to come.
“It’s really cool,” Amon said of the program’s success. “It was really amazing to see all of my friends who have also worked really hard get to take part in what we accomplished this season.”
“Having those freshmen girls come up that swam with Emma (at the club level) was all the better,” Broschat said. “We’re expecting a lot more out of this crew next season, also.”