Powell dives in as head swim coach

At the end of the last season, head swim coach Miller Barnett asked assistant coach Makayla Powell if she would take over as head coach in the following season.

Powell began swimming in elementary school, eventually joining summer league teams to dive deeper into her passion for swimming. 

Upon entering middle school, Powell’s parents allowed her to join a year round competitive swim team. During this time she came to a realization that swimming was the only sport that she was interested in. 

“I just knew right away that it was the only sport that I wanted to do,” Powell said.

Powell continued to pursue her passion for swimming in high school. She became the team captain her senior year, while also coaching elementary school swim teams.

In college, Powell slowed down on competitive swimming, choosing to go back to the basics. 

“I liked doing swim lessons and volunteer swim activities with local neighborhood pools,” Powell said. “I would go home over the summers and do swim lessons there. So no matter what I’ve always been stuck to the pool.”

Powell was coaching an elementary swim team before becoming the assistant swim coach at Cedar. During her year in this position under Barnett, she created swim meet schedules, tallied points, coached the JV team and much more.

When Barnett—who moved to Adairsville— asked Powell if she wanted to become the new head coach she had to give the opportunity a lot of thought.

“I had to think about it for a while,” Powell said. “It’s a big commitment. Coaching is always a commitment, but it’s something that I wanted to take on.”

POWELLS POTENTIAL: Makayla Powell smiles next to Coach Miller Barnett at the GHSA Swimming & Diving State Championship Meet at Georgia Tech. Powell is thankful for the opportunity to have worked with Barnett. “It’s an honor really, I think that Coach Barnett has really done a lot of work to build the program,” Powell said. Photo by Tory Ratajczak.

Powell is excited to be the head coach for the upcoming season but has concerns for the team’s future.

“We had no seniors last year but we have mostly seniors this year. So I think our biggest obstacle we’re going to be facing next year is recruitment,” Powell said.

Powell has large aspirations for the swim team this year, hoping to increase the amount of swimmers that get to state, drop times during swim meets and encourage growth.

Student swimmer Ryan Xiao is excited for the upcoming season this winter.

“I’m just excited, especially since a lot of our team are seniors this year,” Xiao said.

While still being excited, student swimmer Daniel Choi hopes to see certain improvements this year with the team’s connectivity and spirit.

“Maybe our spirit in the stands, watching our peers or kind of making our team more connected as more of a family rather than a team. Because that’s what I believe we are,” Choi said.

Choi also suggests more team dinners and more team-building activities outside of the pool.

Powell, Xiao, Choi, and many other swimmers are excited for the future of the Cedar Shoals swim team, hoping to build off of the base Barnett formed.
“I’m very excited about it. I just feel really honored that I’m able to be a leader for our swimmers,” Powell said.

Aiden Poe

Junior Aiden Poe is a current staff writer for Cedar BluePrints.

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