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Former Orcutt Academy standout Emily Mathis stays connected with swimming
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Former Orcutt Academy standout Emily Mathis stays connected with swimming

Coach Emily Mathis misses seeing her pupils in person, whether they be high school swimmers or kindergartners.

Mathis won back-to-back CIF Southern Section Division 4 championships in the 100 breaststroke when she attended Orcutt Academy. Mathis became the first sectional divisional champion at the school.

She is the third in a set of siblings who excelled in swimming, at different high schools.

Jared Zimmer swam, and also played water polo, for Santa Maria High School. He was an NCAA All-American in the mile, 500 and 1,000 at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.

Meghan Zimmer (now O'Reilly) was a high school All-American swimmer at Pioneer Valley.  She went on to swim at San Diego State. 

After Mathis graduated from Orcutt Academy, she swam for Boise State, where she set the school record in the women’s 200 breaststroke.

She graduated from Boise State in 2018. Mathis, who just finished her second year as a kindergarten placement teacher in Boise, has been a coach in the Boise Timberline High School swim program for three years.

“I would absolutely rather be with (my swimmers) in person,” said Mathis.

Mathis said she coaches in all aspects of the Timberline swim program, which includes varsity and JV boys and girls.

“Our swimmers have been pretty much stuck with land line training,” since pools were closed nationwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mathis said.

“I know a lot of them have been biking in the Boise foothills, doing cardio, doing what they can.”

Cities throughout the nation have gradually loosened restrictions, including when it comes to pool usage, and Boise has followed suit.

“In Boise, they just started opening up some private pools in some country clubs. Some are starting to open up this week,” Mathis said last week.

As with her swimmers, Mathis much prefers working with her kindergarten students in person to working with them remotely.

Schools nationwide, many since March, have been closed because of the pandemic.

When it comes to interacting with her pupils, be they swimmers or kindergartners, doing it remotely and in person are just not nearly the same, Mathis said.

“They grow up so much at the end of the school year at the kindergarten age level,” said Mathis.

“I like to see how they’ve grown into themselves, and you don’t get to see as much of that by remote.”

When it comes to living without competitive swimming, “It’s definitely been a little bit different,” said Mathis.

At press time, Mathis said she was about to add to her coaching responsibilities.

“I’m actually becoming a graduate assistant in the Boise State swim and dive program,” she said.

“I think coaching’s a real good way to stay connected with the sport.”

Mathis said she eventually wants to work for the Idaho State Board of Education office.

“I’m starting a two-and-a-half year (training) program in the fall,” she said.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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