Just one week before the swimming season started, Jessica Pavletich was thrust into the role of the head coach at Garces.
Despite the short notice, Pavletich, the BVarsity Boys Swimming Coach of the Year, did a masterful job with the Rams.
She led Garces, which had only 14 swimmers and no divers on its roster, to a perfect dual meet record and a Southwest Yosemite League championship.
All but two of the 14 qualified for the Division I Central Section Championships, where the Rams finished in fifth place, best among Kern County schools.
This past season was Pavletich’s first coaching swimming at any level. A first-year, 23-year-old math teacher at Garces, she signed up to be an assistant coach. But when the person originally slated to be the head coach stepped down, Pavletich took over.
The 2011 Garces graduate and former Cal State Bakersfield water polo player’s most memorable moment this season came when the Rams broke a 10-year-old school record in the 400-yard relay (3:15.37) during the Central Section Championships.
“My sister just graduated from Garces last year,” Pavletich said. “My brother is a current student. So, I’ve known most of these kids for a while. It was a great experience just being in a family-like setting on the pool deck, hanging out during practice and at the swim meets. It was really fun.”
— STEPHEN LYNCH