After a season of carrying an undefeated title, Carmel High’s girls’ and boys’ swimming and diving teams mounted the Mission Trail Athletic League meet starting blocks as champions on May 6 and May 9, and many of their members earned the coveted chance to compete at the Central Coast Section meet.
At the end of the final championship meet of the swimming and diving season, both teams were seen joyously engaging in the MTAL victor’s tradition of pushing their coaches into the competition pool as their first-place scores were announced.
“The team had 60 swims and 40 of them were best times,” says girls’ head coach Pam Stachelek. Like the boys’ and diving coaches, Stachelek was proud.
However, swimmers had more than just one reason to cheer during their final meet. Not only did Carmel swimmers and divers score highest in the local league—a victory that the girls’ team has not claimed since 2012—but many of the teams’ competitors achieved times and scores that enabled them to compete in the prestigious CCS meet held in Santa Clara on May 16.
From the girls’ team, sophomore Hannah Kim achieved the CCS requirement in her favorite race of 100 meter breaststroke, with a remarkable time of 1:10:94. From the boys’ team, junior Kevan Auger also qualified for CCS in the 50 meter freestyle, and the 200 meter relay team managed to drop three seconds and make their CCS cut as well.
“Kevan Auger deserves recognition for his work and dedication,” says boys’ head coach Kamaron Rianda.
The divers also had an impressive amount of competitors that qualified for CCS with high scores. From the boys, Jack Maughan and Cole Dillinger qualified, and girls team members Julianna House, Tarah Ramsey, Annabelle Scott and Regan Dally qualified.
These numerous accomplishments were not achieved without effort on all teams’ parts, however. Rianda shares that managing the school schedule with practice was definitely a challenge to overcome this season.
“I am very proud that the team was able to figure out ways to achieve well in academics and maintain their form going into championships,” Rainda adds.
Like the boys’ team, many of the girl swimmers found it difficult to balance school with the swim practice schedule. The team captains note that it was difficult for swimmers who had other extracurriculars to come to practice every day.
“It definitely seems like we had a lot of talent this season…but obviously attendance can be an issue because people are busy,” admits Lindsay James, one of the girls’ senior captains.
Rianda also gives insight on the fact that all team members had to work hard to get to the point of winning MTALs, especially after a very narrow win for the boys earlier in the season at their dual meet against Stevenson High school. Some of the swimmers recognize that it took a lot of hard work from some of the lesser experienced participants to get to the championship level.
“I am most proud of the kids who are not necessarily our best swimmers that still improved so much,” says senior swimmer Brett Luch. “Those guys worked just as hard, if not harder, than all of us.”
Despite these challenges, the girls felt that they had one of CHS’ best swim seasons yet. Even many of the underclassmen proved to be some of the team’s most impressive swimmers.
Freshmen like Eva Reed and Sophia Supica showed off their talents with top five rankings in the 500 freestyle and 200 freestyle events, respectively. They say that they enjoyed the experience and felt included in the excitement of such a successful season.
“It’s been really fun considering this was my first high school experience,” Reed says. “Everyone was really welcoming.”
The diving team also has its fair share of success stories from this season. They contributed points to the overall CHS MTAL score that gave the swimming team an edge when they competed on the Saturday after the diving meet. At championships, the girls achieved almost a full sweep of the highest points, claiming second through fifth place, as well as seventh through ninth. The boys took first, third, and fourth in their category.
“It was a pretty good season,” comments head diving coach Matt Borek, who is especially proud of his team for being able to learn so many dives in such a short amount of time. “A lot of the kids learned a lot of dives really fast.”
Like the swim teams, diving struggled with attendance due to the students’ busy schedules. Borek says some of the divers learned up to 11 new dives, and a few even learned as many as six new dives in the span of a week.
According to Borek, senior Sam Klemek is one impressive example of these fast-learning divers: “He learned about six dives in two days and was only 21 points away from CCS.”
Overall, success stories like these were not uncommon among both swim and dive teams, and at the end of the season both received notable recognition from their coaches for their collective efforts.
Adds coach Stachelek, “I would say it was a great team effort.”