Making Waves


Photo provided by: Mrs.Angie Renken

Cailey Renken, sophomore, sees a future in the Olympics as a swimmer. Renken is among the best ranked swimmers in Ventura County.

Sophomore Cailey Renken is a "natural elite swimmer," according to her coach.
Photo provided by Mrs. Angie Renken.
Sophomore Cailey Renken is a “natural elite swimmer,” according to her coach.

Cailey Renken, a Cam High sophomore, believes that her dreams of being a top swimmer are slowly but surely becoming a reality.

According to Renken, accomplishing what she has done in her swimming career did not come easy at first. “In 2009, I joined the Barracuda swim team at the Camarillo YMCA. Although I started at the lowest level, I quickly moved up toward the advanced group,” said Renken. “Soon, I was getting first place in every race I swam, even earning the high point award winning the Championships in my age group.”

Like all parents of aspiring athletes, Renken’s parents wanted the best training possible for their daughter as a swimmer. “My parents recognized that the YMCA team wasn’t competitive enough for me anymore, and our search for a challenging club team began,” said Renken, who started club team swimming in 2012. “My sister and I later joined CLASS Aquatics, a USA swim team that practices at the Oaks Christian pool.”

It took quite a bit of adjusting for Renken and her sister as they settled into their new club team. “It was much different than the YMCA atmosphere I was used to. The sets were harder, there were more swimmers, and the coaches were more strict,” she said. “Today, I continue to swim with CLASS and swim on the high school swim team during spring season.”

Mrs. Tawney Safran, social studies teacher and Renken’s varsity swim coach, believes that she is “well beyond her years in terms of maturity as an athlete.”

“She is one of the most dedicated, talented, self-aware, insightful and selfless swimmers I have ever coached or worked with,” said Safran. “Not only does she have a natural build, but she also has a natural grace and the work ethic that is necessary for elite swimming. The team respects her and looks to her for guidance.”

As the head coach of the girls’ swim team for 11 years, Safran said that Renken is only one of a handful of truly elite swimmers that she has come across. “It will not be surprising to learn if she qualifies for Olympic Trials or the Olympics in a few years,” Safran said. “She is the best of the best, which is why I chose her to represent ACHS Swimming as the MVP during her freshman year. Swimming is her life and she is extremely passionate about it.”

As with most sports, there are aspects about swimming that are enjoyable to Renken as well as those that are not. “My favorite part of swimming is going to meets. Swim meets are a time to accomplish your goals, improve your times, qualify for faster meets, and have fun with your teammates,” she said. “[On the other hand], my least favorite part of swimming is Saturday morning practices. Waking up at 6 a.m. or earlier isn’t most people’s idea of fun.”

Renken said her long-term goal in her swimming career is to make the National team or get into the Olympic trials if possible. “Every four years, I watch the Olympics on T.V. and dream of seeing myself swimming the 100 meter breaststroke, and maybe even being a role model of a younger swimmer.”

Training every single day, Renken constantly sets new goals for herself, as shown in the things she has accomplished. “My greatest achievements so far happened this summer,” said Renken. “I qualified for Summer Sectionals […] in the 100 meter and 200 meter breaststroke. Also, I’m ranked 9th in the 100 meter breaststroke and 18th in the 200 meter breaststroke in the state of California for 14 year-old girls.”