Batesville High School swim team dominating, credits coach who was former swimmer for Cuban National Team

Batesville High School swim team dominating, credits coach who was former swimmer for Cuban National Team

BATESVILLE, Ark. – The Batesville High School swim team is making a big splash in the pool after so many wins despite the size of their school and town.

Batesville High School men’s swim team has won multiple state championships and their coach said he learned the key to success at a very young age.

“We are like one of the smallest 5A schools in our swim class,” Assistant Coach Khang Nguyen said.

‘I always felt loved’ Batesville High School principal shares special bond with 2024 graduating class after her heart transplant

Head Coach Alfredo Aleman said he came on board in the 2018 and 2019 seasons and since then they have won multiple State Championships including this years. The program also grew over time.

“2020 was our first state championship.” Aleman said, adding that they’ve won in “2022, 2023, and 2024 so we are going three in a row right now on the men’s side.”

The team credits Aleman for this accomplishment. He was also a swimmer, with his journey in the water beginning where he grew up.

“I am from Cuba. I used to do triathlons such as swimming, biking, and running. It was a blast,” Aleman said.

Aleman was also a part of the Cuban National Team where he went on to participate in several Pan American Championships.

He said he came to America when he was 19 years old where he felt a culture shock.

“Cuba is a dictatorship and you don’t have freedom of any kind,” Aleman said.

Swimmer Kate Douglass’ best friends are also her ‘biggest competitors’

He then went on to make a life-changing decision.

“It’s a nice island, but it’s also a prison. I became a political refugee because I just wanted to experience the freedom that you have here in America and many choices,” Aleman said. “Because I defected from my country I would not be allowed back. They actually punish people with jail time.”

Later on in life when Aleman was injured in a car accident, he would start another chapter after being suggested to coach. He said, “something just clicked.”

He has spent years rebuilding several swim teams around America, now in Batesville.

“When I came here in 8th grade from Houston, Texas I fell in love with Alfredo’s coaching.” swimmer Dewey Rodgers said. “It’s important to me to have Alfredo as a coach because Alfredo is family and I would never give up on Alfredo.”

Aleman said he gives them lessons he learned from Olympians he grew up around.

“The secret is consistency. You have to be consistent,” Aleman said.

Paralympic swimmer trains for Paris 2024 Olympics

He said he hopes the team continues to dominate but he added it’s important to not forget the small things.

“That’s what we do, we create memories over here that will stay with them forever,” Aleman said.

He said he wants them to be champions of life, not just in the pool.

“If tomorrow we don’t win a championship, I know it will be okay because these kids are going to be excellent human beings,” Aleman said.

He also said he can get more swimmers for next season and continue to grow the program.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KARK.