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Feeling the Heat: Yuma Heat Swim Club heads to Sectionals meet in Texas with team-high nine swimmers

Local swim club sends its most ever qualifying swimmers in historic year

YUMA, Ariz., (KYMA, KECY) - Breaking records and forming a community within the swimming pool has become the new way of the Yuma Heat Swim Club.

It is a special bond created amongst a wide range of ages for a sport that is more individualized and doesn't typically roll into the spotlight - but to this crew of Yuma athletes, it's much more than that.

"It feels pretty amazing just to know that Yuma is a small town and we're going to Texas to represent our town and our team," said Cibola junior Miah Duarte Olivas. "It feels good that I get to be a part of that."

After months of training and competing at the Valley Aquatics Center in Yuma, the swim club was able to do something it has never done before: send a record-high of nine swimmers to the Sectionals Meet.

Not only did they accomplish that, but they did it under first-year coach Myriah VanBuskirk - who's goal heading into the season was to send at least five.

Goal accomplished, and then some.

The Heat took flight for Austin, Texas on Tuesday as they prepare to go up against the best of the best in hopes of gaining experience and qualifying for nationals.

While the experience is expected to be astounding, the best part for the athletes is that they get to travel together and cheer each other on in a big group.

Something they haven't been able to do before on this big of a stage.

"Last year, when I went by myself, I didn't really have anyone else to support me except my mom and one other teammate who was on the other side of the pool," said Cibola sophomore, Ethan Jantzi. "This is going to be a lot of fun with a lot more team members."

Jantzi marks the only returning sectionals swimmer on this year's squad - and joining him is a wide range of ages. From middle schoolers Ryan Webb (Yuma Lutheran), Raegyn Doak (Gowan) and Ella Hauck (Gowan), to one 18-year-old senior, Cibola's Payton Doak.

Hauck being the youngest at just 13, who qualified for the mile.

And at the end of the day, the Heat creating heat as a family and building a community through the pool.

"We have a great team relationship. We're all there to cheer each other on," said Hauck. "Swimming is an individual sport but I think our team, the Yuma Heat, makes it like a community. We're all together, we all love helping each other and cheering each other on. This is going to be a great experience for us."

So as the clock ticks down to competition day, it's all focus and preparation. Especially for Cibola sophomore Gavin Logan - who qualified for the most events overall.

"I’m just ready to go fast and race whoever is next to me. Do the best I can do," said Logan.

And for Raegyn Doak, it's all about the right mindset as she takes the pool this week.

"I go up there and tell myself to be ready. I know it's going to hurt when I get in the water," said Doak. "It gets me going and I tell myself I can do this and I'm ready for it."

Article Topic Follows: Local Sports

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Cole Johnson

Cole Johnson is News 11’s Sports Director.

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