Photo by Ron Webb – Clovis West senior Matt Elkington will be counted on by coach Adam Reid to return the Golden Eagles to the top of the Valley. Last season Clovis High won the Central Section title, stopping a 16-year streak held by Clovis West.
By Paul Meadors, Sports Editor
The swimming season has yet to kick into high gear but that doesn’t mean the boys and girls teams at Clovis West, long dominant in the Central Section, are working any less hard.
In fact, the expectations are always the same – win TRAC, win Valley and make some waves at the CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships, held in their home pool for the second consecutive year.
And why wouldn’t they strive for excellence? The girls program is seeking its 20th consecutive Central Section team championship and the boys had their 16-year championship streak snapped last year by Clovis High. In short, both teams continue to be on a mission.
The girls team Clovis West will be led by three returners in sophomores Caitlyn Snyder, senior sister Sarah Snyder and senior Skylar Elkington from the 200 freestyle relay 2015 state silver medalist team. They’ll try to improve their Central Section record time of 1:34.01.
Mix in a talented group of freshman and the Golden Eagles are in place for another successful run.
“We are returning the majority of our varsity team from our CIF section championship team,” said head coach Adam Reid who also teaches math at Clovis West. “We graduated Kelli Funk (TCU) and Samantha Giannetta (Fresno State) but have a very strong 9th grade group and we return three of the four girls from our record setting freestyle relays. I am hoping we can be faster than last year in those relays.”
Clovis West still has not decided on a fourth member of the freestyle relay team but at the same time Sarah Snyder, who’s attending UC Santa Barbara on a water polo scholarship, is all in to make another run at a CIF championship and state gold along with sister Caitlyn.
“I would like to finish out my senior year with a great season,” says Snyder. “Also, I’d love to be able to win a Valley and state title this year mainly for my sister [Caitlyn] because I know swim means the world to her.”
Reid says early meets at Kingsburg, Bullard the Mt. Sac Winterfest were good gauges to see where some of his swimmers are, despite some of his top swimmers competing at the NCSA Junior nationals in Florida.
The first TRAC dual for Clovis West this season is April 1 at home against Clovis North. Other important dates are: May 5 – TRAC finals, May 14 CIF Central Section Finals, and May 20 CIF State Finals. All those events will be held at the newly renovated Clovis Olympic Swim Complex.
For the state meet, the facility will have new permanent 15 row bleachers and a new color video board. Last year it attracted more than 3,000 people to the two-day event.
The boys team, also coached by Reid, hopes to start a new Valley title streak and will feature Matt Elkington, Preston Mayer, Tom Schab, Hunter Lane, Jake Roberts, Craig McCoy and diver Coly Evangelionos.
“We have a solid group with nine seniors returning and we also have a very talented and deep junior class that is excited about stepping up to bring the Section title back to Clovis West,” Reid said. “Last year was tough taking second place [to Clovis] and having the streak stopped. Clovis High boys and Coach Tragitt were well deserving of the championship and now our boys have a chance to get it back.”