Print Clippers ready to dive into summer season
Written by Brian Bergner   
Friday, 17 June 2011 00:00

The Cottonwood Club Swim team began its summer season just a few weeks ago, with nearly 115 kids signing up to compete in June and July.

Although the Clippers haven’t had a meet yet, second-year Head Coach Erin Estes believes her kids are ready.

Alison Bauers, 14, works on her breaststroke while swimming laps at the end of practice in the Cottonwood Community Pool on Tuesday.“They are excited. They’ve been working hard in the pool and their techniques have improved. We have a ton of kids out this summer and their hard work will soon pay off,” Estes said in an interview Tuesday, June 14.

The Clippers begin their season at the Payson Invitational on Saturday, June 18. After Payson, Cottonwood will have about a week to prepare for the Sedona Splash, which begins Saturday, June 25, and runs through Sunday, June 26.

It is the first two-day event for the Sedona Club Swim team, since the city wrapped up its new pool project in May. Sedona now has eight competition lanes with starting blocks, timing pads and enough deck space for several teams and their fans.

After Sedona, the Clippers travel to Kingman to participate in the Kingman Invitational on Saturday, July 9. Cottonwood will be in Prescott on Saturday, July 16, for the Prescott Mountain Splash.

Estes reported some of the swimmers for Cottonwood will also be in Kingman on July 16 for the Kingman U.S.A. Swim.

Cottonwood winds down the summer schedule with a mile swim fundraiser Monday through Wednesday, July 18 to 20, and wraps up by hosting the Verde Valley Invitational on Friday and Saturday, July 29 and 30.

“We’ve got plenty to do this summer and we’re all excited to see how it goes,” Estes said.

Some of the top swimmers for the Clippers this summer include 17-year-old Collin Mount, who is a solid individual medley swimmer, while 16-year-old Ryan Adams is a beast in the 100-meter breaststroke and freestyle events.

Dylan Wilber, 15, has a goal this summer to have a sub 1-minute time in the 100-meter breaststroke while 13-year-old Shawn Williams is going to be an excellent 50- and 100-meter butterfly swimmer.

“These kids are all good. They all are individual medley swimmers, making them well rounded in the pool,” Estes said.

For the girls, 16-year-old Shannon Knowles, also known as “Cannon” by her teammates, is good in the butterfly and breaststroke events while 17-year-old Daniele Castillo is solid in the freestyle.

As for 17-year-old Kyla Furey, she splits her time in the pool and with the whistle as a student coach.

Mikiel Block, 17, sucks in a quick lungful of air between butterfly strokes while practicing with other Clippers team members Tuesday, June 14. With over 100 kids in the pool, the Clippers have four separate teams this summer: the “A” team, the “B” team, the “C” team and the “A-Prep” team, which is for the very young swimmers learning what it’s like to be in the program.

“The A-Prep team has worked out great for us. It’s new, and we use it to show kids what it’s like to be on the A team,” Estes said.

For the Clippers, the Verde Valley Invitational is probably the most important meet of the summer, according to Estes. All of the other meets work up to one big one at the end of July and this summer, the Clippers want to win the title.