Matt Elkington and Audree Preble blazed the trail.
The senior standouts from Clovis West and Clovis high schools have swum their way to college scholarships – Elkington to UC Santa Barbara and Preble to Eastern Michigan.
Their younger siblings, junior Skylar Elkington and freshman Averee Preble, plan to travel similar paths.
“It’s really nice to have him just a year ahead of me because I have seen how the scholarship process works, so I can understand what I need to do next year,” Skylar Elkington said. “It makes me really excited for college. I really want to swim in college. That’s one of my main priorities.”
Never miss a local story.
Averee Preble hopes to follow in her older sister’s footsteps, too.
“I have looked up to her for a long time,” Averee Preble said. “I strive to be a lot like her in the pool and in the classroom.”
I have looked up to her for a long time. I strive to be a lot like her in the pool and in the classroom.
Clovis freshman swimming sensation Averee Preble on older sister and Eastern Michigan-bound Audree Preble
All four will be in action this weekend during the second CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex. The boys diving finals kick off the event at 8:30 a.m. Friday, followed by swimming preliminaries at 2:30 p.m. The girls diving finals start at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with the swimming finals beginning at 2:30 p.m.
In the Elkington family, the younger sister actually took to competitive swimming first. Matt initially tried his hand at baseball and soccer before asthma led him to follow Skylar into the pool.
Both were considered naturals who have gone on to make their marks in Central Section swimming, combining for 12 individual top-three finishes at the Division I finals, including seven golds.
Matt made perhaps the biggest splash this year while setting the section record in the 200 freestyle (1:36.91) and blazing an All-America 49.09 in winning the 100 butterfly, while Skylar swam consideration All-America times of 23.71 and 51.26 during wins in the 50 and 100 freestyle.
“It’s nice to watch him succeed and know he is my brother and I have the same genes as he does,” said Skylar, who is seeded 11th in the 50 free and 12th in the 100 free at the state meet. “I like having him around. It’s nice to know I always have someone there for me.”
While Matt admits that he and his sister squabble, as most siblings do, there is no rivalry in the pool.
“It’s all friendly,” said Matt, who enters the state meet seeded second in the 200 free and eighth in the 100 fly. “We don’t try and outdo each other.”
I think we’re both in a household that’s encouraged us to do so well. There’s only a few families that can come together and succeed in something as much as we each have in something so similar and that’s due to our parents.
Clovis West’s Matt Elkington on the influence that he and sister Skylar’s parents, as well as Audree and Averee Prebel’s parents have had on their swimming careers.
In the Preble family, Audree, an eight-time section top-three finisher individually, had to learn to share the spotlight with her talented little sister. Averee has a stronger build while the slightly smaller Audree is built for the distance swims more prominent in college.
“It was pretty difficult right at first. She used to come to my meets and cheer me on, then all of a sudden she’s at my meets competing with me,” said Audree, seeded 34th in the 100 breaststroke at state. “She’s pushed me, though. I probably wouldn’t be where I am if she wasn’t here.
“Going in, she had a little bit more talent. I’ve always had to work a little bit harder for everything. Once she started working at the same level I was, she started excelling and I had to take a step back and say, ‘Yeah, she’s going to be better than me.’ But I look at it in a positive way and not get mad about it.”
Averee, who won the 100 fly and 500 free at the section D-I finals, already has matched Audree’s career gold-medal haul. But you won’t find a sibling rivalry here, either.
“Audree and I are very close, and this year being part of the same team has brought us even closer together,” said Averee, seeded 10th in the 100 fly and sixth in the 500 free at state. “She has battled a lot of injuries (during her career) that I haven’t had to. To know you can come back the way she has always inspired me.”
Matt said there is a reason both sets of siblings, who are all friends and train together with the Clovis Swim Club, have excelled. It’s their parents: Jennifer and Larry Elkington, and Dana and Chris Preble.
“I think we’re both in a household that’s encouraged us to do so well,” Matt said. “There’s only a few families that can come together and succeed in something as much as we each have in something so similar, and that’s due to our parents.”
CIF STATE SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Second annual meet Friday-Saturday at Clovis Olympic Swim Complex:
- 8:30 a.m.: Boys diving finals
- 2:30 p.m.: Swimming preliminaries
- Admission: $10; children/students (ASB card)/seniors 65-plus $7
- 8:30 a.m.: Girls diving finals
- 2:30 p.m.: Swimming finals
- Admission: $12; children/students (ASB card)/seniors 65-plus $8