When Alison Abrams took over as Independence’s girls swimming coach four years ago, Tehachapi was well-established as the preeminent team in the South Yosemite League.
At that time Independence just didn’t have a roster deep enough to compete on equal footing with the Warriors.
However, this year fielding a team more than double the size of when she started, Abrams expertly guided the Falcons past their league rivals and into uncharted waters.
The BVarsity Girls Swimming Coach of the Year led Independence to a first place finish at the league championship meet, which enabled the Falcons to claim a share of their first league title in the 12-year history of the program.
“In the past Tehachapi has just kind of ran over everybody,” Abrams said. “They’re a great program. I really like their coaches and respect them a lot. And they’ve always won league. I’ve never been happy with not winning league. But that’s just the way it’s been. Finally, the varsity girls had the depth this year to have enough girls in every event that were successful in that event, not just swimming it but doing really well in it.”
Independence went into the league championships with a 3-2 SYL dual meet record and in need of a big performance by all its swimmers if it was going to win the event.
“I knew we could do it,” Abrams said. “I just didn’t know if we would do it…I told them, ‘leave it all out there in the pool’ and we’ll figure it out later. Once they started (announcing) the scores and we were ahead I started to get excited, but I really couldn’t because we still had so much more of the meet to go. But at the end when they said we had won I was just so proud of them. They did a great job. For us to have our first league title is huge.”
The league championship meet victory caused Abrams to break down in tears of joy.
“I was just so proud of them and excited that we were able to do it,” Abrams said. “I’ve been with these seniors for four years now and to have this as there going-out kind of thing was just an honor. It was just so exciting for all of us to experience.”