Flying to the finish line

Reyes hangs up the swimsuit after her final race


Alberto Valencia

Senior Aja Reyes performs a butterfly stroke in her 100m fly race against Chavez. At the end of the meet Reyes took first place.

From leotards and swinging onto poles to swimsuits and developing stamina, senior Aja Reyes has evolved from a gymnast to a swimmer.

Her interest in gymnastics commenced at an early age, but Reyes admits she never loved it as much as swimming.

“Gymnastics was just something I did when I was smaller. I wasn’t really into it,” she said.

But after attending to her cousin’s swim meet that’s when her interest in gymnastics completely disappeared.
She began to swim in the fourth grade and has continued ever since.

“Many of my relatives swim so it’s kind of like a family thing.”

At first she was indecisive when it came to continuing to swim, but her cousin finally convinced her to sign up for a club.
“My cousin and I started to swim for club until my freshman year.”

Swimming for club Reyes improved herself continuously and shortly became one of the top 10 swimmers in her age group and league.

“I was exposed to educated coaches when I swam for club; because of that I was pushed so much.”

Although her passion for swim was barely beginning, when she hit high school she decided to take a break and focus on her studies.

“Swimming for a club made me exposed to different people,” she said.

“I had connections with many swimmers and I was highly influenced by others.”

As a young swimmer Reyes has learned how to master numerous strokes, but she is mainly known for her butterfly stroke.

“My coaches have taught me to kick well and to push my chest forwards which has led me to build up my rhythm in the water.”

Reyes has received female swimmer of the year in the district consecutively in 2014 and 2015.

By always being pushed by herself and coaches she explains that it has benefited her in school.

“If I can push myself in my three-hour practices I can do it in school. That’s what swim has taught me.”

Having an immense interest in swimming led her to try out water polo.

“Playing water polo is just another sport where I can swim and be aggressive at the same time,” she said.

Being a swimmer most of her life has created her to enjoy water polo more compared to swim.

“Swim is something I grew up with and I’m all by myself. It’s where I can show what I’m capable of.”

Reyes describes herself as an aggressive and fierce player when it comes to water polo.
Water polo being a close contact sport is what she enjoys the most.
At a Tracy scrimmage she explains that during the game Reyes was defending and pulled a girl’s suit.
That led her to rip her opponent’s swimsuit underwater.

“Teams know how rough I am in games.”

Now that Reyes has became a senior she has decided she will not pursue swim or water polo in college.

“I want to get settled first and maybe try out but I doubt it,” she said.

She has made a decision and has committed to San Jose State University. Although it may be the end to her swimming career, she is planning to attend to practices with her old coaches.
It is important to her to maintain her speed and strokes she has mastered.

Swim is what defines Reyes. She admits that after swim and water polo she’s hasn’t tried any other sports.

“I can’t do other sports, only swim and water polo. I’m known as a swimmer and that’s how I want to be recognized. It’s me.”