Where is the love? Top swimming team deserves more recognition

April 2, 2010 — by Tim Rollinson

As a new swim season commences, the previous one seems almost like a dream. One fateful day last May, the boys’ CCS swim team, consisting of only 10 swimmers, won seven events, broke five CCS records, one national record and would later be named the high school national champions by Swimming World Magazine. This unlikely and unprecedented performance places the 2009 boys’ swim team as the greatest in school history.

Did it even happen? No article was ever printed in the San Jose Mercury profiling the team. In fact, the team’s accomplishments didn’t even make the Saratoga News. The walls near the pool have no banners highlighting the accomplishments. In fact, the only banners that can be seen around school are the plethora of signs that hang from the tennis courts, indicating every league championship. The gym highlights many notable athletes and teams from the past 50 years but fails to spotlight the considerable achievements of the 2009 swim team.
Perhaps for those who are still unconvinced of the under-appreciation targeting the Saratoga swim team, things should be put in perspective. The team of 10 swimmers beat out teams of 25 or more swimmers and divers from all over the country, including public and private schools from all 50 states. That would be like Saratoga’s football team playing De La Salle High School with five players and winning.
This was no intimidating team either. The team that got second, The Baylor School, looks like a line of Michael Phelps clones in matching warmups. In contrast, Saratoga’s team photo shows lanky goobers in polka dot speedos.
Not only did the Saratoga swim team accumulate the best score total in a combined mock meet of the entire nation, it also managed to snatch five new CCS records and one national
record. These were serious records too. The 200 individual medely record that Ben Hinshaw took was held by Pablo Morales (think Michael Phelps of the ’80s). The national relay record in the 4×100 freestyle was the longest standing relay record, set in 1991 and was dubbed unbreakable by Swimming World Magazines Emily Mason.
So now, to give credit where credit is due. It all starts with coaching and you will not find better coaches at any high school than Christian Bonner and Kristin Thompson. They are both passionate about swimming and always know what is best for the team. If our team was a pyramid, they were the base; pull it out and the rest crumbles.
Next come the five swimmers who took part in at least one of the five records. All of them are club swimmers who did not need to swim on our high school team for any reason, but without them our team would have been nothing. The fact that they represented our school so incredibly with so little recognition is sad, if not outrageous.
Alumni Ben Hinshaw, Matt Murray and Brad Murray; junior Adam Hinshaw; and sophomore Ian Burns all achieved spectacular things for the team last year and Saratoga High won the lottery by having all this talent at a public school. B. Hinshaw, M. Murray and B. Murray are all swimming at Division I colleges. A. Hinshaw will be attempting to break two records this season including his brother’s record in the 500 freestyle and Burns, still only a sophomore, may end up being the fastest of the bunch.
Four other swimmers rounded out the team: seniors Kyle Borch and Michael Zhang, Junior Justin Chung and sophomore Mac Hyde. Each one contributed to the team over the season and represented their team at the CCS meet, an accomplishment in itself.
So next time you walk by the pool you may take a second look and realize the magnitude of what 10 swimmers accomplished last year.

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