By RON PRESTON
Two Abilene student athlete swimmers take this sport seriously and actually swim the entire year.
Kathryn Coleman, a fourth grader at Garfield Elementary School and Draven Barcia, a senior at AHS both swim for the Salina Aquatics Club and the summer Abilene Swim Team.
The Salina Aquatics Club competes year-round with Missouri Valley Swimming which includes all of Kansas and Missouri swim teams.
“Of all the SAC swimmers, they were the only ones to make it to the Level 1 Championship in December,” said Samantha Coleman, mother of Kathryn.
They both swam the Division II Championships in February in Wichita with many other swimmers from the team. However, they were the only ones to qualify from the team to swim in the Division 1 Champions last weekend in Topeka.
‘The qualifying for these meets is very hard to do against all of the top swimmers for Missouri Valley,” added Coleman.
Debby Smith of Salina coaches the Salina Aquatics Club, the Abilene swimmers will both be swimming for the Abilene Swim Team under the direction of Danette Whiteley.
“Kathryn and Draven are both very talented swimmers and I am so excited they have the opportunity to swim with the Salina team,” commented coach Whiteley.
“Draven has always been a first-place contender in the recreation league and I am thrilled that he decided to challenge himself to an even more competitive venue.
“There are not many high school students that continue to swim competitively during the summer, so having him on the team has been very beneficial and many of the swimmers look up to him because of his talent,” added Whiteley.
“Kathryn is a real go-getter. Last year I actually had her swim-up an age group so she would have more competition and to push her athletically. She has a very competitive spirit and works very hard to become even better,” she said.
“I think it is awesome that both of these swimmers have found a way to swim competively year-round. I am excited that their hard work, enthusiasm, and love for the sport is being recognized,” Whiteley said.
Both swimmers have big opportunities ahead of them.
Draven is receiving swimming scholarship offers from colleges and Kathryn will be attending a swim camp at the University of Minnesota this summer.