El Dorado’s swim program has had an assortment of coaches over the years. This year, it finally has a home-grown product to lead the way. Former Lady Wildcat swimmer, Courtney (McDiarmid) Canady, takes over the reins this season.
Canady was a standout swimmer and cross country runner at El Dorado before competing in both sports at Ouachita Baptist University. She would eventually graduate from Louisiana Tech.
“I’m so excited to step into the swim program at El Dorado High School,” said Canady. “I’ve been coaching swim for years now, although not at a head coach level, with 30 swimmers of my own. Private swim lessons have been something that I’ve really enjoyed doing over the years. While at Louisiana Tech, I also helped coach the Bulldog Aquatics Club swimmers at various ages and levels, headed up the summer swim program there and led the Hope Landing Swim Camp.
“I’ve seen the EHS swim program grow tremendously since I was swimming and I am pumped to have so many swimmers. I hope to see it continue to grow.”
Canady graduated from El Dorado in 2014. She understands the task in front of her.
“My biggest challenge in taking over the program is that I have many swimmers at different levels. I always love a good challenge. I’ve had my mom, husband and Shelly Utsch step in and really help. We have practice five days per week, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday morning before school while Monday and Wednesday are after school,” she said.
“The number of swimmers showing up to morning practices is so encouraging. I think that offering practices at this time has opened a door for athletes of various backgrounds. They’re able to compete in other sports and still swim.”
Seniors on this year’s team include Everett Gati, Aidan Price, Carter Roden, Evelyn Ayala, Hayden McDiarmid, Ian Hernandez, Jansen Shaffer, Julia Peace, Logan Whitten, Nathaniel Marino, Rachel Morgan and Will Robbins. The juniors are Tiyanna Steart, Rachel Murphree, Hannia Valero, Edwin Gonzalez, Christian Rivas, Aleck Ramirez and Abigail Thompson. Sophomores are Jana Powell, Luke Utsch, Payton Allman and the freshmen are Mallory Whitten, Jack Dunn, Drake Hosford, Braden Major and Adrianna Arnold.
Canady said her goal is to push each athlete to master each of the strokes and to achieve their personal best times. She said she was pleased with the work ethic shown so far.
“We have a long list of seniors on the team this year. Not all of them have swam all four years but I’m happy they’ve decided to jump into the sport while given this last opportunity,” said Canady. “Some of our strengths are that we do have a strong, hard-working team that is dedicated and care about each other like a family. I really love working with this group of athletes. I hope that the program continues to grow and also hope their love for the sport continues to grow as mine has.”