Before we splash off on the life, goals and dreams of Aly Guevara, the talented Skyline swimmer wants it understood that she is very grateful just to be in the water again.
Like she says: “Of course, at first my fellow seniors and I were sad about not having a ‘normal’ senior swim season, but we realized we had to make the best of it! We took our team pictures at the lake we had practiced at during the beginning of our swim season, and eventually we were allowed to swim indoors. The season still isn’t ‘normal,’ but we are going to make the best of our last swim season.”
And making the best of her last swim season includes those goals and dreams. If you are going to jump in the water, you might as well get to the finish line as fast as you can.
“Alejandra is making the very most of her senior year,” says Skyline Coach Maureen Murrett. “She has worked hard to be a better swimmer and really contribute to the team. She has big goals and is willing to do what is necessary to get there.”
Those “big goals” include a number of items on her to-do list. She wants to be All-State which requires a number of other goals to be accomplished first.
“I really hope to drop my 100 back time and improve my 100 free time with faster starts and quick turns,” she says. “I also hope to join the 400 free relay at states. This year, I have achieved my lifetime best in my 100 backstroke and definitely hope to improve my starts and turns, to make that time even quicker. I want to get my state qualifying times in both the 100 back and 100 free.”
With personal goals, come team goals. And Guevara is not only a senior this year but a captain, so she has a little more responsibility to carry around on those strong shoulders.
“I am so proud to say I am part of the Skyline women’s swim and dive team, because everyone gets along and the personality of the team is always positive,” says the positive captain. “If anyone doesn’t mentally feel great, I know that these strong women on this team are happy to help talk to anyone who needs it and give anyone advice when needed.
“My goals for the team are to become stronger, not just mentally, but also physically; keep the close knit sisterhood of support that we have now, for future years. I hope everyone at the end of the season is proud of the times that they have achieved, since they have worked so hard throughout the whole season. I hope the examples the seniors have given to the underclassmen show how we want the Skyline team to continue to support each other.”
But Guevara is about more than goals and times and finishes.
“She brings a little sunshine into the pool every day,” Murrett says. “She is learning to have hard conversations and what that means when you are a leader. I love the energy she brings to our team.”
Alejandra Guevara, she goes by Aly, is the daughter of Diane and Gary Guevara. She has kept busy during her time at Skyline. She not only swims but plays water polo in the winter and is a member of Health and Medicine Magnet and the National Honor Society, and was in Marching and Concert/Symphony band as a freshmen and sophomore.
She also has a 3.8 grade-point average – which brings us to the “new” classroom in 2020. And Guevara has continued her success by adjusting to the “new” normal students are facing these days.
“It was hard in the beginning, to push myself to stay on top of my classes since my new classroom environment is my bedroom,” she says. “The challenge of this year has actually been learning to advocate for myself, to ask for what academic accommodations best suit me in online learning. Now I have a solid schedule with swimming and school. I’m able to balance and keep track of everything, especially since I already know most of my teachers from the past. Before the pandemic, I had a good relationship with them and I could easily ask questions whenever I needed help with my assignments.”
And what have been the “new” challenges in the water?
“With swimming, even with the uncertainty, the strong bond of our team supported a full summer of lake swimming and then once the lake started to get too cold to swim the governor allowed indoor pools to open, allowing us to start practicing inside and get ready for this unique season we have had so far.”
Guevara began swimming at a very young age because her parents wanted her to learn how to swim, since they often went to lakes and the ocean, which was “a huge part of my life with my family.”
At the age of 5, she started competitive swimming for the neighborhood team in North Carolina and quickly got better than the other kids in her age group.
“My parents decided I should stay in the sport, since I was progressing so quickly,” she says. “After just swimming on a neighborhood team for a few years, I moved to Michigan and joined a couple of club teams here in Ann Arbor. Once I started high school, I knew I wanted to keep going with my swimming career and see how far I could take it.”
She’s taken it pretty far. She made the always competitive Skyline varsity team last year as a junior where she swam backstroke in the medley relay and got to experience the state meet for the first time. She had her best times last year at the SEC league meet in both the backstroke and 50 free.
Guevara has had the unique opportunity to swim for five different teams in her still young career: Park Village-North Carolina; Vet’s Dolphins during summers (when she was younger); Mack Manta Rays (in winters when she was younger); Forsythe Middle School; and now Skyline. “This has allowed me to gain knowledge from five different coaches and five different perspectives of those different teams,” she says.
It’s all about learning, setting goals, bringing energy, having fun and hopefully accomplishing those goals. That’s why Guevara is so grateful to be given the opportunity to jump back into the pool for her senior year. And you can be sure she’s going to take advantage of it.