BULLHEAD CITY — Should anyone describe Ed Catalfamo as “all wet,” it’s likely because he’s as comfortable in water as on land.
After all, the general manager of Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse and longtime swimmer has coached the Bullhead City Barracudas for 23 years.
The team’s roster, which regularly includes up to a maximum of 120 swimmers, has been halved to roughly 60 participants because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Catalfamo.
“We had to modify and reduce our numbers,” he said. “We don’t have meets scheduled yet, but we are hoping to have a couple toward the end of July.”
First things first: A press release on the Barracudas website (teamunify.com) stated the team was allowed to begin practicing June 8, only after Catalfamo had submitted a mitigation plan. That coronavirus-related requirement is a far cry from 1998, when he helped form the Barracudas as a city recreational squad.
“Coach Frank Anderson (from Needles) was a huge help and great resource and mentor,” Catalfamo said, noting the team dove off the blocks with only 13 swimmers in its maiden year but had 30 by season’s end.
Aquatic activities are nothing new to Catalfamo, who was a competitive swimmer in grade school and high school. Chlorine runs in the family: His three sons swam for the Barracudas.
This year, the team members’ ages range from 4 to 18; they practice, in separate groups, from 6 to 9 a.m. Monday-Friday.
Catalfamo pointed out his assistants and the parents board have worked together for the children’s sake.
“The consistency in the board and staff has benefited the kids and our program over the years,” he said.
The head coach credited assistants Hylie Barton and Peggy Bare, who have helped for 15 years and a decade, respectively; board president Debbi Catalfamo has been a member for 17 years. Others who have lent a hand include Leah Hazelgrove, Francis Martin and Rebecca Hessom.
Although swimming is chiefly a sport for individuals, Catalfamo said, he strives to foster a positive “team” environment.
“The kids work with and push one another to be better,” he added. “It is really cool to see parents cheering on their kids and also cheering for swimmers in the lanes next to their kids.”