The Cottonwood Clippers swim team had their first practice in the revamped Cottonwood Municipal Swimming Pool Friday.
This season the Clippers will enjoy an improved facility with more lanes, a big scoreboard to display times during meets, and touch pads on the lane walls measuring times down to one-hundredth of a second.
The team also has a new head coach, Erin Estes.
She's already singing the praises of her swimmers.
"One of the remarkable aspects of the team is their work ethic," said Estes. "That's usually something a team has to work toward, but for this team it's already there."
Estes said the next step for the A-team is combining that work ethic with fine tuned critical skills for speed.
During the A-team Friday practice, Estes was teaching her swimmers about measuring their heart rate and preparing for competition.
She stressed the importance of having a good heart rate before a race so swimmers wont spend the beginning of a race warming up.
For the younger swimmers Estes said the upcoming practices will be about improving as rapidly as possible because they've started later than usual this year.
To do that, Estes has planned station training to target the techniques needing improvement.
Estes knows a lot about swimming.
She's a certified USA Swimming coach and produces results; many of her swimmers from previous teams have earned college scholarships.
She has seen plenty of competition pools in her coaching career and she says the Cottonwood Pool is now capable of becoming an anchor facility for Northern Arizona.
It's rare for a town like Cottonwood to have such a state of the art facility.
It could be known for bringing in teams from all around the state to compete.
For now Estes' goal is simple.
"This team has been a mainstay for a long, long time," said Estes. "I just want to continue that."
Even though the team has already started practicing it's still not to late to sign-up.
Practices are 6:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday for the A-team and 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for the B and C-teams.
Just go to www.cottonwoodclippers.org for more information.