About two weeks ago, for the first time in its 13-year history, Cathedral Catholic High school captured both the boys and girls CIF Division II Swimming & Diving championships, out-pointing second place Bishop’s, 344-241, on the boys’ side and nipping perennial power La Costa Canyon by 42 points in the girls’ competition. It was the second consecutive title for the girls and the first-ever for the Don boys. A word of warning to the rest of the local prep swimming & diving community—they don’t plan on going away.
“Every year you have new kids, people swimming new events and just a new team dynamic,” said second-year Head Coach Colette Reid, “but every season we expect to be going after a championship and consistently doing all the work necessary to be successful year-to-year.
Looking to the near future, Cathedral appears ready to be in the thick of the CIF title chase again in 2019. Reid will have two returning champions on her roster, one on each side, in rising senior Josh He and rising junior Greta Fanta. He touched first in both the 200 individual medley (1:52.39) and 100 breaststroke (57.04) at the recent CIF meet while Fanta was victorious in the 500 freestyle (4:51.01).
“We’ve been fortunate to have some outstanding individual swimmers on our team but it’s the depth and atmosphere we have that’s enabled us to become a championship program,” said Reid, who doubles as a counselor at Cathedral. “And we were able to achieve success this year with a very young team, which is a coach’s dream.”
Reid is not kidding when she talks about youth. The Dons have a slew of scorers coming back which underscores the program’s strength. Cathedral had 14 athletes on both the boys’ and girls’ teams that accounted for CIF points, individually or as part of relay units. Of those 28, all but seven are expected to be back in 2019.
Cathedral Catholic swimming & diving was already thriving when longtime Head Coach Jeff Owen decided to step back for personal reasons after the 2015-16 campaign and suggested Reid, already in her counseling position, as a capable replacement. The results have verified that belief and the culture Reid and assistant coach Troy Marcikic have instilled has been a big factor. Reid is quick to credit her predecessor for developing a setting that allowed her to step in and push it to the next level.
“I never got to coach with Jeff but know the kids loved and respected him, so a good foundation was in place,” said Reid. “We’ve worked hard to emphasize positive effort and attitude to our kids and I think that translates into their swims. The team atmosphere, the culture of swimming for each other and their school is really important. We want them to be excited during the high school season.
“We were fortunate to have a really strong group of senior leaders my first year. We also had a lot of young kids and those seniors helped shape them and teach them what it meant to be a Don. It’s a lot different than their club programs and accentuating the team environment was key.”
Reid was a swimmer and water polo player at Carlsbad High School, matriculated to Palomar College and later played polo at Sonoma State, graduating in 2013. Her interest in the swimming & diving post at Cathedral was twofold—love of the sport and the benefits that it would provide for her counseling role.
“I wanted to build a relationship with the kids, get to know the caseload better and type of students we have here,” Reid said. “The atmosphere and team-building you experience in athletics is unique and I Iove having the chance to be part of that.”
The school has all the pieces in place to be a swimming & diving powerhouse on a regular basis. In addition to its history of accomplishment and top notch academic reputation, Cathedral has an aquatic facility on campus that many colleges would envy. Two Don swimmers from the ’17 squad—Jessica Pentlarge (Nebraska) and Ty Sande (Lafayette)—are competing on college teams and that pattern figures to be duplicated going forward. The competitive opportunities are also in place.
“The sport is continuing to grow and get better in San Diego,” said Reid. “This year, we were able to swim against Torrey Pines and La Costa Canyon in regular season dual meets and that was an awesome experience. They are both fast programs and competing against them not only allowed us to show what kind of progress we were making but prepared us for post-season as well.”
Speaking of post-season, no matter where the future takes Reid and the Dons, she will always cherish what she saw her charges do in 2017. “When our boys went out and won the 200 medley relay, the first event of the meet, this year it set the tone for us as a team and individuals,” said Reid proudly. “It was a huge confidence booster and got us really excited. We have good kids who work hard and that demonstrated what kind of results you get from that.
“Having our girls and boys win CIF in the same year, that was really special for the kids—and for Troy and I as well. To be part of that in my second year, it was a really cool moment.”