Swim teams ready to sink competition after undefeated MTAL wins

With Carmel High School swimming’s impressive performances over the past couple years, the CHS teams are ready to go above and beyond what they have already accomplished, and bring home yet another win for Carmel.

For the past two years, under the leadership of coach Pam Stachelek, the girls’ swim team has had two consecutive undefeated seasons and dominated the Monterey Trail Athletic League, as well as sent some of their best swimmers to the Central Coast Section regional championships last year, including returning swimmers Megan Brady, Lucy Shelley, Sophia Supica and Eva Reed.

On the other hand, the boys have three consecutive undefeated seasons with three MTAL wins and one tie, and last year they sent some of their most powerful swimmers—Matt Trotter, Gianluca Douros and Dylan Franklin—to compete at CCS, with the guidance of coach Kamaron Rianda.

Although the girls’ outstanding athletic performances and dedication to their sport led them to the position they are currently in, many of the girls owe their success to their fairly new swim coach.

“Coach Stach is always so positive with our team and pushes us to new extremes to help us reach our goals,” junior Sophia Supica says.

Supica, one of the varsity girls chosen to take part in CCS for an individual event, did not win a title at last year’s competition, but she had the fastest 200 free and 50 free in the league. She has already begun to set goals for herself, as well as for her team, for the upcoming season.

“Personally, I hope to make the CCS cut again, but as a team we are trying to make all three relays because last year we only made two,” Supica says.

With the girls’ depth and numbers, the team has the advantage of having their girls place in the top five during meets, which scores them more points and gives them leverage to rank higher in the league, but as the girls become more advanced swimmers, so do other teams’ athletes.

“This year we are facing tougher teams so I anticipate that we may not be undefeated this year, but we are looking for competition so that we will become faster,” coach Stachelek says.

Despite hearing word of strong competition, with all of their previous success as a team and as individuals, the girls are very confident in their abilities.

“We are going to win MTALs again this season for sure,” sophomore Lucy Shelley says. “That is not a question.”

To change things up and prepare for this season’s intensity, the girls have been introduced to weight training to give themselves an extra edge.

“About half the team is lifting weights twice a week, and I think this will make a big impact because it will push the girls who were very close to making the CCS cut to the next level,” the girls’ coach says.

Although the girls have been training rigorously to keep up with their record, the boys have also been staying in shape and working hard to accomplish their goals for this season in order to hold onto their winning streak. They have set the bar for themselves higher than before.

“As a team, I hope to qualify one of our relays for the school record,” senior Parker Fisher says.

To bring out the boys’ abilities, Rianda has been focusing the boys’ attention more on cardio and dryland workouts to keep up the boys’ endurance.

“My goal is to keep the guys in shape and motivate them to want to succeed and want to be a part of CHS swim history,” the coach says.

Some of the boys are training harder this year because it is their last CHS swim season, so they are pushing themselves to their limit now more than ever.

“I want the team to win championships, but also qualify as many swimmers to compete at CCS as possible,” senior Kevan Auger says.

Unfortunately, the boys did not win a title at CCS last year, but junior Gianluca Douros broke the school record for the 500 free with a time of 4:52.16.

“Holding the school record for the 500 free was my biggest accomplishment of last season, but I hope to break the record for the 200 freestyle this year,” Dorous says. “I am about a quarter of a second off so I think I can do it.”

Despite having some of their best players leaving for college, both Stachelek and Rianda are still hopeful to keep their streaks and have many more successful seasons to follow with the addition of some new talent.

“I am optimistic about this season because there are some very driven, talented, new freshman swimmers, as well as our returnees,” Rianda says.

The teams competed in the Carmel Relay Invitational on Feb. 25 at CHS and both the boys and girls will competing at their first meet against Salinas High School on March 3 at Carmel High School.

-Parinda Desai