March 26, 2019 —
Starting the season on a strong note, the swim team surfaced ahead in a home meet against Los Altos on March 8, 385-292. The meet also marked the boys’ varsity’s first individual victory in four years, with a subscore of 112-57.
Top performers included sophomore Tommaso Bianzino, junior Oscar Khowong, and senior Lei Otsuka — placing first in five collective events. Bianzino won the 200-meter freestyle, while Khowong and Otsuka both swept the 200-meter individual medley and 100-meter breastroke in their respective divisions.
According to senior Daniel Bessonov, however, the key to the team’s success wasn’t the first place victories — but rather the second, third, and fourth place finishes in almost every event.
“Everyone on the team stepped up and held their ground in almost every event,” Bessonov said. “Anytime you looked at the pool, you would see a line of swimmers with Saratoga caps leading each race.”
Prior to Los Altos, the team fell in a tough match against Los Gatos on March 1.
This year, according to senior swimmer Andrew Gao, the team is much more balanced. Both boys and girls varsity teams have a number of unexpected, standout swimmers.
“We have people from every grade level stepping up and exceeding expectations,” Gao said. “Our team used to be super top heavy, but this year seems to be changing that trend. Almost everyone is seeing rapid improvements.”
Albeit the season has just started, swimmers have high expectations for this year’s CCS qualifications.
“As seniors, it’s our job to encourage the underclassmen to give it their all each and every practice,” Bessonov said. “By the looks of it, a lot of athletes are going to be qualifying for CCS for the first time this year.”
The first meet this year fell a week earlier than in prior seasons. According to Gao, this slightly threw off the swimmers — but also forced the team to concentrate on training and zone in.
“Having a week less of swimming definitely threw everyone off from an endurance point of view, but also kind of served as a reality check,” Gao said. “Our strong start is partially due to the fact that we all had to dial in earlier.”