Bill Potter's coaching philosophy is a simple but effective one. Success in swimming is all about hard work. Put in a strong effort during practice all season long, and the results will show at the end. That's what the Garces aquatics director has been preaching to his teams for years.
The message has apparently been working.
This past season, Potter, The Californian's Girls Swimming Coach of the Year, led his girls squad to a fifth straight league title and seventh place at the Division I Central Section championships.
The Garces boys won a fourth consecutive league championship and placed 11th at the section meet.
"You may go against a team that on paper that might have better swimmers," Potter said. "But if we just work hard, work hard day after day, when we get into the meets at the end of the year it pays off. They drop times and are able to compete with pretty much anyone out there."
This past season the Rams girls squad was a solid mix of veterans and newcomers to the program.
Potter ably combined the two groups to produce a deep girls team that sent 15 swimmers to the section meet.
"I think the thing that made it special and made it a real fun year for us on the girls is that we had a lot of young, new girls come onto the team, but we also had some seniority, juniors and seniors who had been there that really wanted to win," he said. "These girls really meshed well together."
The Rams girls squad was 14-2 in dual meets. The two losses were at the hands of Division I section champion Clovis West and third-place Clovis-Buchanan.
Along with hard work, Potter credits the team's competitiveness in practice and desire to win.
"I don't think they were afraid of any team we went against," Potter said. "We took on the best teams across the Valley and the girls wanted to step up. They wanted to race. It makes coaching a lot easier when the girls want it that bad."
-- STEPHEN LYNCH