Good Sports: Cheyenne Coffman

FRESNO, Calif.

As a senior at Sierra High School, Prather's Cheyenne Coffman was an outstanding athlete excelling in three sports, but none more than the others.

"I actually wasn't that -- I was ok in high school. I wasn't an eye popping swimmer. I was decent," said Coffman.

But while coaching against her at a rival high school, newly-named Fresno Pacific Swim Coach Peter Richardson saw unlimited potential in the pool.

"She was a great athlete and we just thought that if she committed to swimming and that was her only sport and she swam year around, then she could be really -- she could be a star. And it's come to fruition," said Richardson.

He convinced Coffman to become the centerpiece of his first recruiting class, and now almost, five years later, Coffman has blossomed into one of the best swimmers in the country.

"She ranks 13th in the nation -- in all divisions -- in the 100 yard backstroke. Her time better than top programs like USC and Stanford," said Richardson.

Coffman: "I believe I have the potential to compete with the best and I want to. I mean who wouldn't? Who would be training this much and not think that?"

And she is the only non-NCAA swimmer to make the top-50 national rankings. In the 50-yard freestyle, she is currently number 26.

"What people see are those time drops, they see her at the top of the rankings. What they don't see is what she does every day, every summer. She does more than the average swimmer," said Richardson.

And now the pre-occupational therapy major is focused on two goals in the next six months: leaving FPU with the program's first women's NAIA National Championship, and posting solid results in the June Olympic trials in Omaha.

"There's never been anyone in the NAIA who swims as fast as Cheyenne. That's not an understatement," said Richardson.

"Omaha is definitely the big bang in the end," said Coffman.

Because if she doesn't qualify for this summer's London Olympics, she'll have four more years to train for Rio De Janeiro. And we've already seen what can happen with Coffman in just four years.

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