Tide Turning in Favor of Kennedy Swim Team as New Records Set
By Christopher Wong, Chief Editor
Kennedy’s swim team is accelerating to new heights as some of the school’s records, some as old as 30 years, were broken by several students.
Among the record-breaking swimmers are Matthew Lee (10), Jordan Selvin (10), Joel Amezcua (9), Calvin Elliott (10), Grant Greenlow (10), Allie Umemoto (12), and Ana Boisvert (11). Individual records were broken by Lee, Umemoto, and Boisvert. The team of Lee, Amezcua, Elliott, and Greenlow broke the school’s record in boys’ 200m freestyle relay. Lee, Selvin, Elliott, and Greenlow also broke a record in boys’ 400m freestyle relay, a record that had yet to be touched since the 1980s. The 400m team shattered the record by six seconds.
Amezcua aspired to reach this level of success since he began to swim 11 years ago. Reaching the current level of success required intense effort and drive to improve on a daily basis.
Umemoto, who broke school records in 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle, elaborated, “Swimming requires both physical and mental toughness, so just stay focused during practice. And don’t forget to have fun; swimming is an intense sport, but you’re supposed to enjoy it.”
The boys’ 200 free relay team demonstrated their effort, drive, endurance, and their fondness for swim in their first place finish at sectionals at Tokay High School on Saturday, May 13th. The four swimmers beat out teams from over thirty other schools. Cheers from teammates intensified the competitive atmosphere further.
Amezcua dove in first. Amezcua made a quick return for Greenlow to begin. Feet left the starting blocks. The Lodi Flames’ swimmer entered the water first. However, Greenlow and the Lodi swimmer seemed to surface at the same time. However, with Greenlow’s swiftness, Kennedy took the lead. Greenlow returned. Now, Lee was tasked with pushing the team far ahead of the others. Lodi fell behind. The flames were extinguished. A different threat faced the Cougars as Elliott leapt into the water. Like pirates pursuing booty, Jesuit Marauders were determined to catch up to Kennedy. The supportive Cougars offered Elliott encouragement to push through and beat the pirates looking to plunder a victory straight from the lane to his right.
“We were all standing at the block where the last person dove off screaming and shouting, ‘Come on! Calvin, let’s go!’ When we won and saw the last person touch first, everything stopped. It felt like the whole world stood still,” described Amezcua, as he recalled the moment Elliott sealed in the team’s first place finish with a time of 1:31.39.
The Cougars forced the Marauders to walk the plank with a second place finish and a time of 1:32.92. Fortunately for the Marauders, they know how to swim, albeit a half-second slower than the Cougars.
Lee, one of the team’s co-captains, shared how being on a team together brought them closer together. Lee had known most of his teammates his entire life as a swimmer, which began almost 10 years ago. However, he had not truly bonded with them until recently.
“I would describe my relay teammates as a family. Before I came to high school I rarely talked with any of them, but now ever since high school swimming, I have gotten the chance to know them more, as well as talk and mess around before and after practices,” Lee explained.
After all the excitement has died down however, holding a school record is a great feeling.
Greenlow has been swimming since he was six.
“It’s really exciting to know that no one in the history of the school has gone faster,” he admitted.
“I actually didn’t know I broke the record until recently. It feels good that I’m leaving something at Kennedy as I leave, a sense of accomplishment. Feels great to have a school record and I just hope it will motivate some other girl to swim fast and beat it!” Umemoto concluded.
Everyone the Clarion interviewed sees a positive future for the team.
“I can definitely see the team getting first in league next year and many years after,” Greenlow predicted.
“I hope Perkins will continue to expand and grow the swim program. We have so many talented young swimmers that will be great as they continue their swimming careers,” Umemoto praised.