The Calistoga swim team wrapped up its regular season with its final meet against host St. Helena High last Thursday.
The Wildcats will practice this week in preparation for the Coastal Mountain Conference Championship meet at Fort Bragg this Saturday.
While their attention is turned to this upcoming weekend, last Thursday provided a moment to stop and reflect for one of the Wildcats.
Abad Cuenca, the lone senior on this year’s team, was honored during a break in the meet. St. Helena had honored its seniors and Calistoga used the opportunity to honor Cuenca since the Wildcats don’t host any meets.
“He’s a great athlete; he’s done almost every single sport,” Calistoga coach Danielle Rossi said at the meet. “I think it was just learning different lessons for him, but he has a great attitude. He’s really easy to work with. It was great.”
Cuenca starred on the boys soccer team all four years at Calistoga and held a large role on the football team, as well. But with this being his last year in high school, Cuenca wanted to get the most out of his experience. So he went out for two spring sports he normally doesn’t play.
“I’ve always loved swimming in the ocean and in pools and I thought that this was a good opportunity,” he said at Thursday’s meet.
Aside from being one of the Wildcats’ top swimmers in the pool, he also joined the tennis team and split his spring doing both sports.
Even though this made his last semester of school a little busier than normal, he said he liked his decision.
“I really enjoyed it, especially since it was something new,” Cuenca said of joining the swim team. “I got to start all the way from the bottom and work my way to the top. The process is the best part of swimming.”
On Thursday, Cuenca swam in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles as well as the 100 backstroke. He finished the 50 in 31.40 seconds, the 100 in the 1:25.60, and the backstroke in 1:48.62.
He hopes to improve those times at the CMC meet this weekend in hopes of qualifying for the North Coast Section meet.
In all, only seven swimmers came out for the swim team at Calistoga this season, Rossi’s first as a head coach. While the results may not have been championship level, Rossi said the team is young and grew a lot during the year.
“It’s been great. It’s interesting working with different personalities,” Rossi said. “I learned to be stern, a lot more stern on some of them than others – it’s a lot about teaching them responsibility. They’re easy to work with at the end of the day, so it’s fun.”