Truckee swim team already making waves
The Truckee High swim team is two meets deep into the season, and head coach Carey Parlette is pleased by the potential she sees.
“We don’t have as many experienced swimmers,” Parlette said of this year’s team, “but they’re real motivated. It looks very promising for the future.”
The 32-member squad is the largest of Parlette’s five-year coaching tenure with Truckee. Normally, she said, the team has approximately 25 swimmers. A direct cause of the increase in numbers is the 14 freshmen girls who came out, as well as the seven boys, which is more than ever before.
Returning for the girls this season are seniors Kathryn Altieri, Alex Prodanuik, Nichole and Allison Achey, and juniors Lora Lashbrook, Haley Howell, Mary Silvas and Keema Kelly.
The only returnees for the boys team are Blake Heckendorn and Colin Shane.
Altieri, the senior team captain, is impressed thus far with the chemistry among the swimmers, which she said is the best it has been in four years.
“I think it’s better [this year] because the team spirit is higher,” Altieri said. “Everyone has a positive attitude, and everyone cheers for each other. I think we’re going to do really well.”
Wednesday after school the team practiced in the Truckee High pool, until having to surrender it to a gaggle of young swimmers from the Truckee Tahoe Swim Team.
Parlette said the main focus in practice is endurance ” always an important aspect of swimming ” and starts and turns, which are a learning process for the inexperienced swimmers.
Parlette, however, does not lack experience. Originally from the Bay Area, she swam competitively for 11 years and spent two years on the swim team at University California Santa Barbara. So she knows a talented swimmer when she sees one – and she sees one in freshman Arek O’Connell.
“Arek is the hope of the future,” she said.
O’Connell, standing well above 6 feet tall with a brawny frame, swam competitively from third to seventh grade before taking a break from the sport. He also plays football and basketball, and he said his goal is to play one of them at University of Southern California. But for now, he’s in swim mode.
“I can’t wait,” O’Connell said about the bulk of the season that lay ahead. “It’s going be fun. It’s fun getting back in the pool after a couple years.”
Parlette, O’Connell said, has made the experience even more enjoyable.
“She’s awesome,” he said. “She’s a fun coach, cool to be around. She works us hard, not too hard, but hard enough to keep us in shape.”
O’Connell said his short-term goal is to get under 23 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle. In the first meet of the season against Damonte High he was clocked at 25.67. His next chance is Saturday, when the team travels to South Lake Tahoe for a 9:30 a.m. meet against North Valleys High.