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North swimming seeks to continue success

September 19, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The North Fort Myers High School swim team has a new wave of swimmers this season, replacing those who have left the program to work on their studies or to seek employment.

While that has resulted in the some loss of experience, there are still plenty of good swimmers, some in contention for a trip to states in November.

Amy Clark, who coaches the boys team, said the team is smaller and younger, with many members who are new to swimming.

Article Photos

Isaak Segovia does the breaststroke during the 200 yard individual medley at the Tarpon Invitational Mini-Meet in Punta Gorda last week.


"We graduated a lot of kids and there were a few that got jobs or are doing dual-enrollment, which is fine," Clark said. "We still have some talent from last year."

That talent swam in its first meet of the year last week, the Tarpon Mini-Invitational at South County Regional Park in Punta Gorda, and while both the boys and girls finished fifth out of six teams, there were some good swims put forth.

The best came from sophomore Kirk Klemm, who placed third in the 50-yard freestyle and second in the 100-yard butterfly. R.J. Tejada a senior looking to reach states, was fifth in both the 50 and 100 freestyle.

"Last year, my goal was to make states and I did that. This year, I would like to place. I have more expectation for myself," Klemm said. "I knew my chances were slim and that I would have to work. I was happy I made it."

Clark said the newer swimmers have competed in Swim Florida, so they aren't foreign to the concept of competition. They're just smaller.

That means Tejada and Jacob Gonzalez are called upon to be the leaders and help out the younger swimmers, with guys like Klemm acting more as mentors.

"We've had a rough start. We've had some key swimmers quit before the season. We have some potential with the underclassmen and we have to work with them," Tejada said. "By the end of the year they'll be able to carry the team when I leave,"

The girls team has a solid core of swimmers with only one senior, coach Dianira Rivera said, with 10 girls putting up solid times.

"I had eight girls make it to regionals last year and I hope we get that this year. Looking at today, they have improved and shaved times," Rivera said. "This is a very hard-working team."

Among them is junior Erica Clare, who shaved a half-second off her time in the 50 freestyle en route to a fourth-place finish. She also placed sixth in the 100 freestyle, also a personal best.

Kaylee Martin lopped off 13 seconds in her 100 butterfly for a top 10 finish.

Clare said a lot of good young swimmers came out and they have been working hard.

"There's been a lot of competition and a lot of pressure, but we've done really good. We're looking to do even better this year," Clare said. "We're motivated and we want to come to practice and work. The ones who have competitive experience are killing it."



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