Diving into Texas

Tigersharks gain new teammate from Arizona

Story by Kristin McCasland, online co-editor-in-chief

She adjusts her goggles as she surveys the unfamiliar faces around her. A new city, a new pool, a new practice. Her new teammates all look the same with their hair tucked away in their caps. They crowd her, each wanting the chance to talk to the new girl. Now, only a few months later, junior Ohemaa Barnes has become a vital member of the Tigersharks.

Over the summer, Barnes moved to Texarkana from Phoenix, Arizona. Initially, she was not excited about the move.

“I honestly hated the idea of coming to Texarkana because [I had] never heard of it and I didn’t know where it was,” Barnes said. “When I found out where it was, I despised the idea of moving from a big city to the middle of nowhere.”

However, swimming has aided her transition to the new city.

“I’ve been swimming since I was 7 years old, but since we move a lot, I’ve always been with a different team,” Barnes said. “I started with the Elkhart Seahorses, and in Phoenix, I was swimming with the Westside Silverfins. I was really glad to find out that Texas High had a swim team because I love the sport.”

During her relatively short time with the Tigersharks, Barnes has noticed some distinct differences between her old and new teams.

“The Tigershark practices are harder and more people are serious about what they are doing than [the swimmers] at Westside Silverfins,” Barnes said. “The coaches help you and ask you more questions about how you swim and I think that’s very important.”

Barnes also enjoys spending time with her new teammates, who have become her good friends over the course of the past months.

“Although I miss my friends and head coach, Coach Stewart, I really enjoy hanging out with my Tigersharks,” Barnes said. “There’s definitely more team bonding here outside of practice.”

Barnes has high hopes for the swim season, and hopes to break her personal records in the 100 backstroke and 50 freestyle.

“I want to go really fast this season and drop a lot of time,” Barnes said. “I would love to be able to compete at State.”