OTHELLO — The Othello Barracudas season has come to a close, finishing second in the Mid-Valley Swim League Silver Division recently in Naches Valley.
Barracudas head coach Natilee Ruiz said the end of the season was bittersweet.
“It was a weird thing,” Ruiz said. “I was sad because the season was ending. But I was so proud of our team.”
In her first year at the helm for the Barracudas, Ruiz said it took time this summer to build a routine and structure early on.
“It was a lot easier to go through the season when they knew what to expect, and I knew what to expect,” Ruiz said. “We just had a really great season together.”
Ruiz said a wide number of swimmers on the team made strides in their performance and times as the season went on. Danny Martinez, Ruiz said, stood out all year with his speed and talent.
The Barracudas head coach said she noticed early his talent, but wanted to push him even further with some tweaks to his strokes. While Ruiz said he struggled at times with the changes, he continued to work all season.
Martinez was able to finish top eight in all of his events at the MVSL Championships this past weekend in a crowded division, taking second place in the 50-meter breaststroke.
The Barracudas will gather one last time on Aug. 12, recapping the season, and distributing awards to some of the swimmers. Moving towards next season, Ruiz said her, her other coaches, and the board members are tossing around a lot of ideas right now.
The Barracudas get set as they are slated to host the finals next season in Othello.
One thing Ruiz and her coaches want to work on is making the Barracudas into something more than a swim team, focusing on sportsmanship and helping them to be good people as well.
“I want our swimmers to be known as ‘Those are the people that, not only do they work hard and do really well, they’re super polite, respectful, positive, those kinds of things,’” Ruiz said.
The two goals in her first season, Ruiz said, were ensuring everyone had fun, while working to get them to do their best. After one year with the Barracudas, Ruiz said the decision to come coach her former team is something she’s really enjoyed.
“I’m so thankful that I did this, and that they gave me the opportunity to do this,” Ruiz said.