Freshman Lily Brown competes in a relay race between the Sutter Lawn Tsunamis and the Arden Arcade Piranhas at El Camino High School last summer.

Adding club athletes allows swim team to compete in relays

The swimming and diving team has more than tripled, adding freshmen Yasmin Gupta, Amalie Fackenthal and Lily Brown and juniors Sydney Michel and Emma Brown.

The team started practice on Feb. 9 at Rio Americano High School, whose coaches act as supervisors and coaches for SCDS.

Last year the team included only two members: seniors Claire Pinson and Lauren Larrabee. They both swam for club teams and used their club practices as a way to train for the school team. Larrabee and Pinson swam together only when they had to qualify for sectionals at Rio.

Teams get points by individuals qualifying and ranking in their races, athletic director Matt Vargo explained.

Last year Pinson qualified and placed fourth in the 200 IM (individual medley). Because of her ranking, the two-member team ranked 30th out of 40 boys’ and girls’ combined teams and 17th out of 21 girls’ teams.

Last year, because of the team’s small size, they weren’t able to have a relay team. But this year, according to Vargo, they will finally have one.

Fackenthal, who swims for Arden Hills’ USA Team, will be on that relay team. “I’ve been swimming for five years, and I swim outside of school, so I might as well swim for the school,” Fackenthal said.

However, Fackenthal will not be practicing with SCDS since her coach wants her to focus on their club team, and neither will Larrabee and Pinson.

Michel joined the team because of her recently dislocated knee. She had to stop playing club volleyball and turned to swimming since she’s familiar with it.

Michel has been swimming competitively with the Browns at Sutter Lawn Tennis Club for seven years. “I’m excited to be swimming with them,” Michel said.

Gupta has swum outside of school too. Before coming to SCDS, Gupta swam for an Australian club swimming team for three years.

But when Gupta arrived at SCDS two years ago, she stopped swimming because of illnesses she got from pool water. “I decided that this year was the right time for me to get back in the water,” Gupta said. “It’s been awhile since I’ve swum, and I am nervous to start again.”

Gupta’s mother is encouraging her to get back in the pool. “Swim team is a good way for me to stay fit,” Gupta said. Because of conflicts with club volleyball, Gupta will miss two swim practices a week.

“Last year we placed really well considering the small team size,” Pinson said. “Now with the added members and experience, I think we can do really well.”

Previously published in the print edition on Feb. 17, 2015.

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