Folsom Athlete of the Week: Jessica CooleyBy: Matt Long, Sports Editor
The Folsom Sea Otters had their best finish ever in the Suburban Swim League championships held July 20-22 at Sierra College and Jessica Cooley was a big reason why.
Cooley led the Sea Otters with two first-place finishes in the 11-12 girls’ age group, as she won the 50-yard backstroke in 30.98 seconds, as well as the 50-yard breast stroke in 35.50. Cooley also had a pair of third-place finishes in the 100-yard individual medley (1:09.84) and 50-yard freestyle (27.15).
Making the finals in all five of her events, Cooley also took fifth in the 50-yard butterfly (31.27). With 44 points, Cooley was the third-highest point scorer in her age group.
Cooley’s times in the individual medley, backstroke, and breast stroke were also Folsom Sea Otter team records.
Cooley also helped the 11-12 girls’ 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard freestyle relay teams place third. Cooley, Sydney Mayoral, Bella Montez and Kaytie Waters finished with a time of 2:14.52 in the 200-yard IM relay, while Mayoral, Montez and Jaidyn Miller joined Cooley in the 200-yard free relay to finish third with a time of 2:01.20.
“Jessica is a small and mighty force to be reckoned with,” Folsom Sea Otter President Megan Mayoral said. “She’s a natural in the water. She doesn’t have any special coaches or speed suits, she just swims to swim. She rejoined the Otters this summer because she wanted to have fun. Mission accomplished. We are proud of Jessica and her accomplishments. She swims against kids and she’s half their size but she wins. It’s exciting to watch and she pushes her teammates to do better.”
Folsom Telegraph: What have you been doing this summer?
Jessica Cooley: I've been swimming and hanging out with my friends.
FT: Do sports run in your family?
JC: Yes. My sister is a year-round swimmer. My dad was a volleyball player and my mom was a skier.
FT: How long have you been swimming and how did you get your start in it?
JC: I have been swimming since I was 4 years old. I started swimming because my sister wanted me to be on her swim team.
FT: You took some time off from swimming. How much time and why? Why did you decided to come back to the Sea Otters this season?
JC: I took a few months off because I wasn't having fun swimming anymore and I also wanted to try other sports. I came back to the Sea Otters because I wanted to have fun with my friends that were on the Otters. Also because the new head coach Mike Chavez makes it a lot of fun to be on his team.
FT: What do you like about swimming?
JC: The friendships that you make, and in the summer it is fun to be in the pool when it's hot.
FT: Do you have a favorite swim stroke and if so why is it your favorite?
JC: My favorite stroke is backstroke because I'm good at it and you don't have to hold your breath while doing it.
FT: What is your best/favorite event and why?
JC: The 50-yard backstroke because I am a backstroker and it is a really fun event to swim.
FT: You did very well at the Suburban Swim League Championships? Is there one race that you’re more happy about than the others and why?
JC: The one race I'm proud of is the 50-yard backstroke finals because I won against some very tough competitors.
FT: Who has been the biggest influence on your swimming career and how?
JC: My sister Emily because she got me started in the sport and she is always there to support me.
FT: Are you involved in any other sports?
JC: I started doing track and field when I took a break from swimming. I will do it again in the spring.
FT: What is your favorite subject in school and why?
JC: I enjoy math because I like working with numbers.
FT: Favorite Food?
JC: I love spaghetti. I could eat it everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
FT: Favorite music?
JC: I really like the band Imagine Dragons.
FT: Do you have any pets? Tell us about them.
JC: Yes, I have two cats. A Calico female named Belle and a male Tabby named Toby. They are brother and sister and they are both 3 years old.
FT: Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?
JC: I like to paint and do crafts. I also enjoy watching TV.
FT: What inspires you in sports?
JC: What inspires me in sports is to have fun and always do your best.
FT: What are your career goals? Are you interested in a certain type of job/career yet?
JC: I would like to become an orthodontist when I'm older.