In the pool: Yuba City area teams building swim and dive programs

Apr. 30—Yuba City High School Swim and Dive head coach and alumna Jessica Zamlich said the program always sees an uptick in swimmers during an Olympic year.

With the upcoming Summer Olympics set to open in Paris this summer, Zamlich has been fielding interest across Yuba-Sutter for people willing to hit the pool at Gauche Aquatic Park in Yuba City.

Gauche Aquatic Park, known simply as GAP to locals, is a central venue for both Yuba City and River Valley, as the schools compete in weekly swim and dive meets against Capital Valley Conference competition. The swimmers and coaches are in their final year racing against teams like Woodcreek, Antelope, Bella Vista and company before the Sac-Joaquin Section realigns its leagues starting in the 2024/25 athletic calendar.

For now, Zamlich, a former Feather River Aquatic Club swimmer, is working to give her swimmers an edge against CVC competition with the hope that the swimmers gain proper techniques to use in the pool.

"We teach them how to swim and how to swim fast," Zamlich said. "We want to see the kids race."

Zamlich said YCHS is currently at 30 swimmers and growing, while the dive program mostly competes on a 1-meter board with training happening on 3-meter boards.

During league meets, Zamlich said divers utilize six different dives while at the championship level the competitors are using 12 different dive techniques.

"We help to give them the confidence," Zamlich said.

Over at River Valley, head coach Elizabeth Mamoulelis is in her second year and has about 10 swimmers on the roster. With such a small team, Mamoulelis said she is able to offer more specialized attention to each of her athletes to help streamline the process to become a competitive swimmer at the varsity level.

"I am teaching one swimmer how to breathe and just be flat in the water, and on the other end I am picking apart a swimmer's turn and underwaters while trying to build speed and endurance," Mamoulelis said. "We have a fun time. On the way to one meet, I had them all read 'The Little Engine That Could.'"

The book, Mamoulelis said, was supposed to light a fire under each athlete as the bus approached the swim venue.

"I just have to be their biggest cheerleader," Mamoulelis said.

Mamoulelis is pleased with any improvement from the swimmers during the course of the season.

A breakthrough for an advanced swimmer could be shaving a few seconds off a performance while the beginner gets a better grasp on the technique used in the pool, Mamoulelis said.

"One of my beginner swimmers was having a hard time getting his arms out of the water while swimming, which is such a basic thing," Mamoulelis said. "During his first meet both arms came out of the water during his race. I was ecstatic. Even though he was last, it was a huge win for both of us, and I made sure he knew it."