The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Westerberg preps for Morningside after CHS


February 16, 2020

Peter Stein

Clovis High senior Amber Westerberg has decided to continue her swim career at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.

CLOVIS — Amber Westerberg was definitely going to continue her swim career outside of Clovis.

The question was where.

“I was looking through a bunch of college websites for Division II and NAIA schools and I came across this one,” Amber said, pointing to her T-shirt that read ‘Morningside Mustangs,’ “and another one called Lindsey Wilson. And I ended up visiting both, as well as Adams State.”

It was somewhat of a varied geographical array, with Morningside located in Sioux City, Iowa, Lindsey Wilson in Columbia, Kentucky, Adams State in Alamosa, Colorado. Decisions, decisions for Amber, a Clovis High senior and daughter of Clovis head swim coach Gordy Westerberg, but she managed to choose her next swim destination.

“I fell in love with this one,” Amber said of NAIA Morningside, which she will begin attending this fall to study Criminal Justice and Pre-Law in addition to swimming. “I really liked the team, they were very welcoming. And the girls were super-nice. The coach (Bryan Farris) was great; he reminded me a lot of my dad. He was very flexible with my schedule. They were all very welcoming in this whole process. The counselor’s been involved the whole time. The team has kept in contact with me. Every time I email the coach there’s always paragraph after paragraph (in response), which I really like.”

“It was stressful for her to pick a place,” Gordy Westerberg said. “As her coach, there were a bunch of different schools that she could swim at, but as a parent we sent her on her own, we didn’t go with her. So wherever she chose it was 100 percent her decision.”

Morningside’s interest was serious enough that the school matched a scholarship offer Amber had received from Lindsey Wilson. So the financial numbers were there, and the Westerbergs already knew Morningside’s program was a good fit.

“I really would like to be part of the national team there,” Amber said, “and I have a chance in my 400 i.m. (individual medley) of getting into there. I would have to pick up my times a little bit, but I have a very good chance of making their national team.”

“I think Amber is one of the better recruits that they’ve had in the last couple of years,” Gordy said. “So it’ll be interesting to see how that all plays out. The first year they kind of struggle because it’s a completely new environment. Everything is new to them — the food is new, the bed is new, the training is new. So I kind of give them a pass on the first year. But when she went there, she fit in very well with the upperclassmen.”

Sioux City will be just a tad bigger than Amber is used to.

“It’s very small, but not as small as Clovis,” she said. “It’s really pretty and green, and I cannot wait to be near snow.”

Although snow recently dumped on Clovis in consecutive Tuesdays, Sioux City does normally get more than here, so Amber should see plenty of the falling white stuff over the next four years.

For Amber, collegiate swimming will likely be the most exciting step so far in a lifelong journey of gliding through water. It began during her younger days when the family lived in Albuquerque.

“I have been swimming for as long as I can remember,” she said. “My dad would dunk me in the pool when I was just a little girl, probably around four. And I started competitive swimming when I was in about third, fourth grade. I would do summer leagues before that, but around that time I remember I started to take swimming seriously. But not seriously enough until I joined the high school team in eighth grade when I was in Albuquerque.

“Swimming has just always been a part of me, it’s always been around me.”


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