Girls’ swimming: Bright goals even with small numbers

February 23, 2011 — by Kelly Liu and Ashwini Velchamy

After a solid season last year ranking 6th overall in CCS, the girls’ swimming team has high expectations for the coming season, led by all seniors: backstroker Debbie Lin, freestyler Sophie Heyman, freestyler Caroline White and diver Lauren Gardanier.

However, despite the large influx of 10 incoming freshmen and one new sophomore, the number of swimmers dropped to 24 because of the graduation of a large senior class. This change will be a challenge to the team since they are still in the same division, De Anza, and facing last year’s major opponents, Monta Vista and Palo Alto High School. The first meet is at home against Gunn High School on March 11.

“Everyone is a formidable opponent this year,” said coach Kristen Thomson. “We are just going to have to see. The size will be challenging, but I think we will do well.”

Along with veteran coaches Thomson and Christian Bonner, new coaches Brett Slayton, Courtney Crase and Heather Bridges will join the staff. Crase also coaches the water polo team, and is coaching swim again for a second time.

With more coaches and a smaller team, the swim team would have to adapt from their accustomed large team and two coaches, along with competing against teams that present more of a challenge. Yet the team’s small size does not dishearten swimmer sophomore Maggy Liu, who sees this as an opportunity for the team members to bond, especially between JV and varsity players. Thomson also puts a positive spin to this in her goal for this season.

“I think this is a very fun group of girls. I think that they’ll be a tight group,” Thomson said. “What we lack in size, we definitely will make up in spirit.”

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