Cottonwood High’s swim team of talent
Dec 01, 2016 04:37PM
By Travis Barton
Senior Cassadee Bunten swims the 100-yard butterfly at a swim meet on Nov. 17 at the Marv Jensen Recreation Center. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
Coming off a year in which the Cottonwood High School swim team broke nine school records—four boys, five girls—one could hardly blame head coach Ron Lockwood for his optimism.
“Last year went great, a lot of great individual swims, a lot to get excited about,” Lockwood said.
The boys team were state runners-up while the girls finished in fourth with multiple swimmers and relay teams finishing in first place including the 200-yard medley relay, men’s 200-yard individual medley (IM), women’s 100- yard butterfly, men’s 100-yard butterfly, women’s 100-yard backstroke, men’s 200-yard backstroke and the men’s 400-yard freestyle relay.
Jonah Simon, the 2015 5A boys swimmer of the year, graduated with two individual school records to go along with two relay records while sophomore Jarod Arroyo finished with three individual records and two relay records. The Colts lost Arroyo a few weeks before the season began when he moved to Arizona to compete with the Puerto Rican national team.
Despite those potentially disastrous losses to the program, the Colts have built up depth over the last few years. Lockwood said the quality of his swimmers this season gives him confidence in the team.
“Those guys are gonna have some great swims. We’ve got some other boys that will break through and get into that state meet and have a lot of fun,” Lockwood said.
The girls side returns many of their key contributors from last year’s fourth placed team including 2016’s 5A girls swimmer of the year, junior Rhyan White.
White broke the state record in the 100-yard backstroke last season by more than a second with a time of 53:45. Whose record did she break? Her own — from the previous year.
Lockwood said White is committed to greatness and her hard work has paid off.
“She’s an extremely athletic young lady…she travels differently in the water than other kids. When she kicks her legs bend differently than others,” Lockwood said. “I know it sounds strange but she has some natural born gifts that have allowed her to be spectacular.”
White appears primed for another successful year after taking 18th place at the US Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. in June. “We were there and had a blast, we had a great time,” Lockwood said.
But White won’t need to carry the team as the Colts boast a squad filled with talent.
“We’ve got an incredible group of young ladies that are gonna be very good and a couple of freshmen that will be significant difference makers this year,” Lockwood said.
The Colts enter the 2016-2017 season with 42 swimmers on the team having won their first meet in Box Elder.
Team captain, senior Cassidee Bunten, said the relays are one of the team’s strongest aspects.
“We have really good, strong teams that we’ve put together and we’ve actually been practicing with,” Bunten said.
Bunten is in her third year with the Cottonwood swim team and noted that the program’s focus over the years has been team unity, which has transformed into one of its strengths.
“Even though it’s an individual sport and you’re in the lane by yourself racing against other people, it’s still a team sport because you have your teammates at the end of the lane cheering you on,” Bunten said. “[Your teammates] are the ones that are there for you if you do bad so I feel it’s a really big part.”
With a season that starts at the beginning of November and runs through mid-February, Lockwood maps out the season in advance to properly prepare the swimmers to peak when the state tournament arrives. The swimming community generally states that bodies take four weeks to adapt to training habits and adaptation phases.
Lockwood said the season builds on those four-week cycles taking the proper recovery time to allow the athletes to compete at their best.
“It’s worked out pretty well for us over the last little bit, we’ve had a lot of success,” Lockwood said.