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Student Athlete of the Week – Rachel McCafferty

Xavier Prep girls swimming has found themselves a star. Rachel McCafferty came to the desert three years ago from San Antonio, Texas and was born into a family of swimmers.

Aunt went to the Olympic trials, Dad was a waterpolo player, and all her siblings swim competitively. So there wasn’t much of a choice for Rachel.

"Four years old I started to swim," said McCafferty. "I joined club swimming when I was about seven and I have been doing it ever since."

When you came here to California did you know you wanted to continue swimming? Was it in the back of your mind that wherever you would go to high school you wanted to be involved on the swimming team?

"Absolutely. It definitely helped me with my transition into moving here," said McCafferty. "Having a team, having a club team and a high school team. Swimming is kind of a family, you train together, you hurt together, and you become a big family."

"I think one thing about Rachel is she expects the best out of herself," said head coach Jana Vincent. "So she is always willing to give whatever is needed. We have several leaders like her, but she obviously is a standout and she is an outstanding swimmer on top of it."

Rachel’s journey in the pool hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Last season presented Rachel with her biggest challenge of her life and coach Vincent played an integral part.

"I had a pretty severe injury about a year ago. Double shoulder injury, and she really helped me through getting back in the water and swimming with an injury," said McCafferty. "Getting through more of the mental side of that."

Was there a doubt that maybe you couldn’t swim again?

"Yeah. I thought that I was honestly really done with swimming. But she helped me ease back into it and made sure I didn’t swim and re-injure myself," said McCafferty.

"They can get some bad injuries in swimming with their shoulders, so I obviously didn’t want to push her past her comfort," said Vincent. "So I always relied on her to tell me what was going on with her."

Perseverance and a lot of hard work. Rachel is back smiling in the pool, where she is meant to be.

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Bailey Arredondo

Bailey Arredondo is a Sports Anchor/Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. He joined the Desert’s News Leader in January 2022 here.

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