Thursday morning at Batesville High School was an important day for Nathan Hernandez, Trey Moody and Katy Moody.
All three of the Batesville high school senior swimmers officially signed with Ouachita Baptist University.
“I went to their campus and their swim coach was very inviting,” Hernandez said. “I felt like it was a good fit for me.”
Hernandez is a four time high school state champion in swimming. He set a state record in the 100-meter backstroke. He was part of a Pioneer relay team that set a state record in the 4 x 50 meter event and won the state 4×50 free style two times. Hernandez has championships in the 100 fly and the 100 backstroke as well.
“It is a grueling sport,” he said. “You have to grind to get to where you need to be. It is hard work, but a lot of fun.”
Hernandez has been swimming competitively since he was 12, but started training the pool with his father and coach Alfredo Aleman.
He is a great kid and I’m glad he is a part of the Batesville swimming program,” Aleman said. “He is a guy who thinks about his teammates. He works hard and he pushes them to be better.”
Hernandez and his family moved to Batesville four years ago from New Mexico.
“My dad has been coaching me for along time and wanted me to try swimming competitively,” Hernandez said. “And I turned out to be pretty good at it. All together, though, it has been an awesome experience.”
Hernandez is an inspiration to the team.
“He inspires and motives those kids and that’s why we have been able to do so well as a team,” Aleman said. “It’s not just him as an individual, he has been able to carry the team and help those guys do well.”
Hernandez senior teammate for the Pioneers is Trey Moody.
Moody is from Batesville and has been swimming since the Pioneers were at the North Complex, Lyon College and now their home is the Batesville Community Center. He too chose to go to OBU.
“Ouachita is great is a great school,” Moody said. “It’s by the Ouachita River and the pool facility is amazing. It was cool experience to visit there.”
Moody’s strength as a swimmer comes as a 100-meter freestyle sprinter.
“I do the butterfly and relays, but I’m going to try to break the record set by Seth Bailey who is swimming at Tennessee now,” Moody said. “I am just going to push for it. I have been to three state meets and as a sophomore, we won it as a team.”
Last year, individually, Moody was second in the 100 freestyle, but broke the 50 second barrier by a second. He was out-touched by one second in the championship race.
“Breaking 50 was a big deal,” Moody said. “I think this year’s team is going to be amazing.”
Aleman says that Moody and Hernandez set the bar high for the rest of the team to follow.
“Trey Moody and Nathan carried their team on their shoulders,” Aleman said. “Those two sacrificed and pushed through.”
Trey’s twin sister Kate Moody also signed on to dive at OBU.
“I am diving at OBU after swimming for the past 11 years,” she said. “I’ve been on the high school team since I was in ninth grade and this year, I am going to start diving.”
Moody has worked on her dives and has a current front flip that she is mastering as well as a few more dives to gain points for the Lady Pioneers during meets.
“I have also been a cheerleader since I was in the seventh grade and they (OBU coaches) thought it would help me, too with diving,” Moody added.
“I was the only girl in the program my freshman year, so it has grown some since then.”
Moody’s strongest event is the backstroke and she trains up to 10 hours a week on developing her speed.
“And on top of that, I ran cross country,” she said. “Trey and I are twins, and we have done all sports together since we were six. We encourage each other and we are both excited about going to OBU.”
Aleman says Moody is one young lady who works tremendously hard at her sport.
“She urges everybody and motivates them,” Aleman said. “She is an excellent swimmer. She is a very well-rounded swimmer and has a pretty good backstroke in the 200 meter individual medley.”
BATESVILLE SWIM STARTS TODAY
Today at the Batesville Community Center, the Batesville Pioneers and Lady Pioneers swimming teams will begin their season at 10 am
Khang Nyugen, the assistant swim coach for Batesville is expecting a challenge in the team’s first meet.
“This swim team is pretty awesome,” he said. “We have a good group of seniors. The boys have been runners-up, won a state championship and placed third. They have won the conference pretty much every year and for the girls, Kate is the only one we had four years go. Now we have seven to 10 girls to continue the program. I am proud of Kate for what she has done and proud of Nathan and Trey for what they have done. Those three right there laid the foundation for us.”
This year’s Pioneers are Ethan Insell, Brayden Paul, Dewey Rodgers, Jackson Insell, Sam Knott, Ethan Byler, Blake Plotz, Luke Brissey, Daniel Latus, Reece Looney, Tristan Wells, Hernandez, Moody, Keegan Sudol and Shayne Coffee. The Lady Pioneers are Parker Coggins, Penelope Nelms, Kendall Box, Kate Gunter, Karmen Richardson, Kate Moody and Sarah Shaw.
“When I got here, the swimming team was hardly heard of,” Nyugen said. “When we started winning, people started to notice. That got more kids coming out for the program and it gives us depth. We have high expectations of state championships as a team. I am just excited for what’s ahead of us.”