On a cold and windy afternoon, two women on the Dons swim team dive into the pool knowing that their work will not pay off this season.
The team opted not to compete this year in order to save their eligibility for next season.
“We attempted to have a team, but because of injuries and lack of numbers this year, we were not able to put a team in the pool,” Dean of Athletics Avie Bridges said.
Because of the swift exit of last year’s swim coach, Al Reyes was hired in July to coach both the water polo and the swim team. The timing was devastating, as most top high school swimmers had already committed to other programs.
The difficulty is that nobody makes up their mind in July and it takes time to plan, Reyes said.
During the fall season, Reyes recommended that Michelle Vos be hired to coach the swim team because he felt that his coaching strengths were in water polo Bridges said.
Reyes knows Vos from Long Beach Milliken High School where she was his assistant coach. In the fall Vos worked as Reyes’ assistant water polo coach here.
Reyes’ change of heart left Vos and Bridges in a predicament. The women began the season with four swimmers, two of whom left the Dons to focus on their full-time jobs.
That left two swimmers able and eligible to compete. It takes at least four swimmers to compete in a relay. So the women stood no chance of winning, and for the sake of the athletes, college officials pulled the plug on the season and saved their eligibility.
Vos says that recruiting efforts have landed promising recruits for next year.
We want Santa Ana to be known for aquatics, Vos said. “It’ll take a while, but I’m confident with what we’re doing right now it is setting the building blocks for years to come.”