With swimming season just around the corner, the pressure builds for Emmanuel Gardea as he takes on his new role as head coach. Gardea previously assisted the head coach at Cathedral High School.
He explains what he wants from this year's team and how he plans to achieve it. Gardea understands the challenges of becoming the head coach for such a prestigious program and is adjusting well.
"Besides the big shoes that I have to fill, Eastwood has been treating me very nicely, the atmosphere is great." Gardea said.
Gardea elaborates on how he wants to reshape the swim team as a whole. He also adds how he wants to aggressively train his players throughout the season.
"My strategies are very different from Coach Flato's." Gardea said. "I believe in fast paces and sprint sets while he likes distance sets. I want the team to be mentally and physically dead, only because it means more rest right before districts and regional."
The boy's swim team had a very successful season last year, and it seems as if they can retain that caliber this coming season. With most of the experienced swimmers now graduated, the majority of the team has to step up to the plate.
"For my guys team I'm really looking at Jacob Allard who is a senior and two specific juniors, Thomas O'Beirne and Manuel Hernandez, only because they've gone so far in the first two years and still have two years left. Omar Torres is one to look at because he still has three years and he's already at the top of his game." Gardea said.
Allard and O'Beirne went to state in last years season, while Hernandez made it to regionals in the 500 placing second right behind O'Bierne.
Sophomore Omar Torres comments on the many challenges facing him this year.
"One of the challenges is to get through the hard sets and push the team and myself, even when we're tired." Torres said.
Coach Gardea has high hopes for the girl's swim team as well. He points out the notable female swimmers for this season.
"Ashley Hernandez and Isabella Solis are the two main girls to look at this year." said Gardea.
Hernandez and Solis made names for themselves last year as they both went to regionals for separate and relay events. Over all Gardea describes his team as being strong and knowing what they need to do. Gardea is also very hopeful for his younger teams and feels that with the right guidance they can build a tougher swim team for the years to come.
"The freshmen team is a very tough grade because no matter how hard the practice they get in there and do work." said Gardea. "The sophomores have so much potential, they're a very talented group on the team. The junior class are very experienced, know what they need to do, and show the underclassmen as well. The senior class... they are simply just the leaders of the team!"
Gardea and the swim team have their first swim meet October 16th, at the SISD invitational.