Thirteen-year swimming saga still making a splash

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PROVO — There’s Scooby Doo and Shaggy, Batman and Robin, and then there is Jake Taylor and Yolanda Bates. This BYU swimming dream team is one of the best athlete-coach duos to hit the deck.

BYU swimmer Jake Taylor grew up like any other boy–minus the fact that he was a boss at swimming. However, that wasn’t his only interest as a kid.

While Jake loves the pool now, at eight years old he also loved hunting, baseball, and horses. It wasn’t until Yolanda encouraged him to focus on swimming that the pool became his second home.

Thirteen years ago, Jake tried out for Yolanda’s club team at age nine. Now at age 23 the two are still flying through the record books. Yolanda may have been the driving force pushing Jake to pursue swimming in middle school, but it was after Jake made it to the NCAA tournament his freshman season at BYU that Yolanda considered switching from club to coaching college.

“I told my husband I have to go see him,” Bates said. “He’s like my little kid and at that time it had been like 10 years.”

It was a coaching change Jake is grateful for after he made a big splash at the Texas invitational this year, setting BYU records in the 100 and 200 backstroke events. These moments in Jake’s career are times  Yolanda says she’ll never forget.

“I just waited for the finish and looked up at the scoreboard and I knew it was an A-cut. That means you’re going to the NCAA no questions asked,” Bates said. “I just reached for Sherry and started to cry.”

Jake credits a lot of his success to his “second mom”, saying if it weren’t for Yolanda he wouldn’t be the man he is today.

“I claim a lot of my character traits that I’m proud of to her and to the things that she’s taught me,” Taylor said.

After the Texas invitational he was the fastest 100 backstroker and third fastest 200 backstroker in the nation. This Cougar athlete is making quite the splash for the BYU swim and dive team.