“Versatile” is the word Napa Valley Swim Team head coach Asher Green uses when he talks about Kelsea Wright.
The American Canyon resident and member of the club’s senior group can compete in a number of events, including the 200 freestyle, 500 free, 200 backstroke and 200 butterfly.
A senior at New Technology High School in Napa, she can also swim the 100 fly, 100 back and 100 free.
Wright has competed in the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay for American Canyon High, which will host Vintage in a scrimmage at 4 p.m. Feb. 21 and compete in the Valley Relays at St. Helena on Feb. 24.
“She’s got a tremendous work ethic,” Green said during one of the club’s workouts at Napa Valley College, “and her commitment to swimming is top-notch. The development of her freestyle and backstroke has been just incredible. For years, her real strong events were the middle distance freestyle. Lately, she has been developing a really good backstroke. Her fly is pretty solid.”
During a signing ceremony at the NVC pool in November, Wright signed a national letter of intent to attend Dixie State University and swim for the Trailblazers. Dixie State is an NCAA Division II school in St. George, Utah, and competes in the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference.
“I’ve always wanted to swim for a college team,” said Wright, 18, who will receive a scholarship to swim for the Dixie State women’s team. “It’s been my dream for a really long time.”
Trailblazers women’s head coach Benjamin Rae announced Wright’s signing on the school’s website.
“We are so excited to have Kelsea join our program – she will be an instant contributor for our team both in dual meets and in progressing towards placing athletes at the NCAA championship meet,” said Rae, whose Trailblazers are in their second season of NCAA competition. “As a new program, we are looking for athletes that can define the future of our program and we believe that is the kind of athlete that Kelsea can be for our team.”
Wright has been a year-round swimmer with the NVST the last five years, and trains six days a week.
“I couldn’t be more proud of her,” said Green. “For her to earn this scholarship, especially coming from where she started, to now being one of our top swimmers, and she is going to go contribute to a collegiate program, I’m exceptionally proud of her.”
Wright won six events in the girls 17-18 age group – 200 free, 500 free, 100 back, 200 back, 100 fly, 200 IM – for the NVST as it hosted a CBA+ short course swim meet Nov. 11-12 at Vintage High School.
She won the 50 free in 15-and-over girls and swam on the NVST’s winning 13-and-over girls 200 free relay team as the club opened its short course season by placing second in the Zone 3 Championships July 29-30 at Vintage.
“Kelsea has got a very high level of self-discipline and self-motivation,” said Green. “She is maintaining a legacy that we have, a tradition that we have, of sending kids on to swim at college, if they wish to.”
Wright was sixth in the 17-18 girls 200 free and eighth in the 400 free while also swimming the 100 free at the Far Western Long Course Championships July 27-30 in Concord.
She also swam at the Los Angeles Invitational earlier in the year, and in the 69th annual Husky Invitational indoor meet Dec. 1-3 at the Weyerhauser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington.
“It’s a mix of club swimming and college swimming,” said Green. “It’s a great experience for our kids to swim against a wide range of athletes.”
Last June, Wright was second in the 200 free and 100 back, and third in the 100 free and 200 IM in the 17-18 girls group, as the NVST hosted a CBA+ long course swim meet at Vintage.
Last May, Wright placed sixth in the 200 free and was 10th in the 500 free at the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Championships for American Canyon at Tokay High in Lodi.
Originally from Chandler, Arizona, Wright has a 3.35 GPA and plans to major in nursing.
Wright said swimming has taught her discipline and determination.
“I like that it’s competitive; I’m a competitive person,” she said. “I like racing. I like the team atmosphere.”