El Estoque

Swimming: Senior meet brings together swimmers for CCS

Brian Fan

When swimmers first walked out onto the pool deck on April 24 to warm up for the meet, their eyes were drawn to the balloons bumping against the side fence and the colorful posters plastered on the wall under the scoreboard. Every year, these decorations commemorate the senior swimmers and their years of commitment to the team.

Photos by Justin Kim

But the senior meet plays into a larger idea that goes beyond mere competition. In fact, many seniors who were not on the swim team came to watch the meet, something that was the result of a well planned event.

“We’re not swimming,” senior Annie Lin said, “But we still came to support our team.”

Lin swam for MVHS for three years from freshman year to junior year.

“The [senior meet] is a big deal because it gets more people to come and watch,” senior Kristie Nguyen said. “This is the one time seniors get to swim the events of their choice.”

For the rest of the season, seniors can request events, but what they actually swim at a meet is dictated by the coach and the team’s needs.

“They are all here for support,” senior Madeline Liu said. “Not actually support through swimming, but support through spirit. Part of the spirit comes from the underclassman preparing the event—which leads to everything being a surprise.”

The senior meet works nicely with the large number of seniors this year. The team currently has around 12 seniors when last year they had only eight.

Senior Christina Cheng has swam for MVHS all four years of high school, but practices with club swimming rather than at school. The senior meet is a big deal for her because she sees it as a unifying event for the entire team even though swimmers like herself don’t usually practice at MVHS.

“It’s two different experiences,” Cheng said. “Many people on the high school team are from club, but there are still a lot of other people.”

In high school swimming, the dynamic is less about the competition and more about the team building.

“You’re around different people,” Cheng said. “During club, you are rivals, but now you are closer and more friendly. It’s good to take that break for one day during high school practice from the rigor of club swimming.”

Having placed top three in CCS the last two years in a row, MVHS swimming has high expectations for this season. However, after the graduation of 2014 alumni Michael Chen, Brandon Pon and Colin Hong, the odds seem stacked against them.

“It goes without saying that we’ll still try our best,” Cheng said. “Many people are seeded to make finals and we’ll definitely aim to win CCS again.”

The meet against Gunn had a rough start with both girls varsity barely losing in the 200 IM relay. The girls lost a slight lead as the race progressed into butterfly.

MVHS boys took a slight lead at the start of the relay and just losing by less than half a second as the Gunn relay caught up in both butterfly and freestyle.

“I’m not at all worried about some fast boys catching up during the butterfly or freestyle. We have one of the strongest relays at CCS, even beating 30 year CCS champions Bellarmine High School,” Coach Cyrus Kahangi said. “Those varsity boys have hard national sets and that takes its toll on their bodies.”

The meet continued with MVHS losing both girls and boys varisty in the 200 free but dominating the 200 IM. The girls did an excellent job holding the top three spots in the 50 free and the 100 fly. The meet ended with a win by girls in the 400 yard freestyle relay.

The team will head off to League Championships on May 5, 2015 at Saratoga High School.