As swimming numbers dip, team struggles in meets

March 18, 2024 — by Mitchell Chen and Florence Hu
Swimmers practice?
Both boys’ and girls’ teams lack a JV team this year, and swimmers are focusing on achieving individual goals.

Head Coaches: Christian Bonner, Mike Allegretti and Kristen Thomson

Last year’s record: 2-4 (girls’ varsity) and 1-5 (boys’ varsity)

Recap: With low numbers, the team struggled to win official meets against rivals; however, they sent a good number of athletes to CCS. Girls medley relay made it to states. Star swimmer sophomore Kelsey Zhang won first in state at the 100-yard butterfly as a freshman.

Key Matchups: Gunn, Palo Alto, Homestead

Star Players: seniors Meher Bhatnager and Amaris Charton and sophomores Kelsey Zhang, Taewon Yim and Esad Melikzade

Key losses to graduation: Zeynep Tokuz, Channie Hong and Mark Liu

Division: De Anza 

Prognosis:

On March 8, the Falcons took on Gunn at home. The girls won 95-81, and the boys lost 107-71. At their first meet against Homestead on March 1, the girls team won 83-81, while the boys lost 111-59. At Homestead, sophomores Kelsey Zhang and Taewon Yim both made CCS cut times in their respective individual events, the 100-yard fly and 200-yard freestyle. 

 The more swimmers a team has, the more events they can fill with their swimmers. While only the top three swimmers from each school can score points in each event, a larger team is able to fill more events with their swimmers and thus score more points, as swimmers are limited to four events per meet. 

The swim team began practices on Jan. 31 with 30 swimmers on the roster, compared to the 40 last year. They are currently focusing on sharpening techniques such as their underwater kicks pushing off the wall. 

After losing 11 seniors to graduation, the team faces lower numbers and is mainly composed of underclassmen, with only four seniors left on the team. Because of low numbers, there are no JV teams this year. 

Attendance at practices has also been an issue: Many swimmers either are not present or late, which has impacted the performance of the team. 

“We are still working on building our team morale but because the majority of swimmers on the team swim for outside clubs, it can be hard to get everyone practicing together,” senior Amaris Charton said.

So far, the Falcons are still building morale and excitement as many new swimmers are unsure what to expect in their first year of swimming. 

“This is my first year swimming on a high school team and while the practices are definitely hard, I like being able to swim with my friends,” freshmen Isabelle Jadali said.

The team’s goal this season is to encourage and build on the skills of the new swimmers and for each swimmer to meet his or her personal goals throughout the season. Many of the club swimmers on the team who have been swimming competitively year-round have high hopes for the season. There are nine club swimmers out of the 30 swimmers on the team. 

One of the new swimmers is freshman Kevin Chen, who swims on the DACA national team and has sights set on making CCS in the 100-yard breaststroke. 

Palo Alto Star Aquatics sophomore Kelsey Zhang, who is ranked first overall in California, hopes to go back to states for her second state title in the 100 yard butterfly. 

“Hopefully, we can make a relay team for states like we did last year,” Zhang said. “The team has been working really hard, so we’re just going to keep going.”

Tags: meets, Swimmin
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