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Placer swimmers dive into season

New head coach Tyler Bonner focusing on building a foundation
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Tyler Bonner is used to being the one in the pool, not on the deck, with the Placer Swim Team. But the 2008 Placer graduate and former four-year swimmer commands the team with confidence as he takes them through their practice drills. Bonner is in his first season as head coach for the Hillmen. Former coach Michael Scott moved to San Francisco to attend nursing school. With the reign left to him, Bonner already has a firm grasp on what he hopes his team accomplishes. “I want to get a firm foundation down and don’t want to set any big spectacular goals that are unachievable,” Bonner said. “Once we get the foundation then we will go after some more.” The girls are deep this season. Returning swimmer junior Libby Machado is a standout in the water. She frequently wins the 50-meter freestyle, but also competes in other events. “Libby Machado is a great all around swimmer,” Bonner said. “She is one of those go-to’s. I can put her in any event and she will just score points.” Senior Richelle Rocks is also returning this season. Bonner swam with her his senior year. On the boys side, Bonner said the team could use some recruits. “I want to build up the program,” Bonner said. “We are hurting for boys. I want people to join because of the camaraderie and friendship.” Honor roll student, senior Steven Cox did just that. Cox, who also wrestles at Placer, was looking for another sport to get involved in during the off-season. He decided to join this year, along with a couple of friends, because of Bonner. “We really like Tyler Bonner. He was my coach on the Auburn Robles club team,” Cox said. “It’s a fun sport to compete in and not as intense as wrestling.” Machado on the other hand is more focused on swimming exclusively. “We did pretty good last year. We didn’t have a very big team,” Machado said. “I just want to get my time down to 25 seconds on my 50 (meter freestyle).” Up-and-coming freshman Jake Rick said Machado is the person he looks up to most on the team. He swims in the 100-butterfly and backstroke events. He said so far he is enjoying his experience on the team. “It’s a pretty good workout doing the sets,” Rick said. Bonner said that Rick is one person who he really sees potential in to be one of the team’s top finishers. Besides building up the program in numbers and finishes, Bonner hopes to help more of his athletes move on to swimming in college. After graduation Bonner went on to swim at Sierra College for two years, where he is pursuing degrees in accounting and business administration. He has already helped senior Chelsea Hudson make up her mind to swim at the collegiate-level, by giving her information and connections to the program. As for Placer’s competition, Bonner has been around the local swimming community long enough to know which schools will give them the biggest fight. “Bear River and Colfax matches will be a defining moment on how we’ll place in the competitive league,” Bonner said. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.