by Rickey Lewis

How do you win two state titles in swim? You do it one stroke at a time.

Unlike many high school sports in the state, Mississippi combines districts and classes for its State Swimming Tournaments.  Class 1 is all of the 1A through 5A schools that compete in the state.

Haden Cuevas of Pass Christian High School has improved every year in his quest to win state gold in his events. His sophomore year, Haden finished third in the Butterfly and finished second in the backstroke.  The next year, his junior season, he finished second in both races in the state.

His senior year would be the year he pushes in all the chips by dedicating himself even more than before to bring home the gold.

Haden won state in both races this year but wasn’t as satisfied as you would think. “I’m very happy with both of the swims but I feel a little less satisfied than I thought I would.  That’s because I set my goals really high. I wanted to hit the state records.”

Although it wasn’t a state record, one of his times qualified him for a national meet.  He swam a 51.55 sec. 100 meter butterfly and came up a little short of his goal with a 52.8 sec. backstroke.

Haden is really excited about swimming on the collegiate level but needs to get his times faster so that he can really be recruited by some of those college swim programs.

One of the schools that he has his eyes on is Delta State University.

He has a year-round meet that’s coming up in February that he’s been training for to get his times where they need to be.

Hayden is really gearing up by utilizing his high school coach, Dennis Hough and his personal trainer, Donald Williams who is designing all of his workouts in and out of the water.

Haden hopes that his state titles encourage other students to participate in swim.

“I’m hoping it gets other kids to open their eyes and say wow, maybe swim is something I can do and everyone gets over whatever stigma comes with being part of the swim team. Maybe in the future we will build our own pool and start contending for State Titles as a team instead of just individuals like me.”

Haden has gotten into great physical shape over the last few years because of his swim workouts.

He encourages all to join so that they may enjoy the benefits of swimming one stroke at a time.

Good luck to Hayden Cuevas as he continues to excel at the sport he loves.