The Estancia Bearacuda swimming team is back—they never really left but had to practice in a small private pool last summer. They are back in the town pool this year, albeit with about 10 swimmers, half of what they’ve had in the past.
There are both experts and neophytes on the team and at their last meet, Josh Calhoon earned multiple golds. Several other members brought home bronze and silver medals.
Head coach Espie Sanchez, who has coached when the team was larger, swam when there were more team members. As the coach this summer, she runs practices from 9:15-10:15 Tuesday through Friday mornings.
Mariana Sanchez is Espie’s younger sister and has brought home a few medals.
“The best thing is the meets—you have a half hour to put yourself out there.” the younger Sanchez said. Mariana added that her sister is a little tougher on her “because she expects more.”
Assistant coach Aidan Ortiz, an Estancia sophomore, made his reasons for being part of the swim team very clear. “Swimming in the morning—who doesn’t want to do that?” Ortiz was also on the team when he was younger.
Sanchez, who just finished her freshman year at Arizona State University, said what she enjoys most about coaching is “seeing the swimmers improve. They don’t know the strokes [when they start] but after just one week, they’re learning.”
Brody Encinias is 6 and started swimming last year. This year, “ I want to beat both the 10-year-old girls on the team.”
Lucia Lovato is a new member who’s 10 years old and said she will compete when ready. Her gauge of readiness: “If I’m fast enough to do one of the strokes underwater and pop up and scare the boys.”
The last time the Estancia Town Pool was open, it was $80 for an individual season pass and $150 for the whole family. This year, those passes are $40 and $75, respectively, and that included joining the Bearacuda swim team.
“Swimmers don’t have to pay for anything else,” Espie Sanchez said, adding that parents carpool to Saturday meets against mainly larger teams in Albuquerque, adding that the team is also planning a triathlon fundraiser.
Most of the kids are from the Estancia area but the head coach said there is one coming from Moriarty. Young swimmers can still join the team. Contact Espie Sanchez if interested at 505-903-8203 or [email protected].
Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at [email protected]