Season preview: Boys’ and girls’ swimming looks to rebuild

Daniel Li, Author

The Palo Alto High School girls' swimming team poses for a group picture outside in the quad last year. The team hopes to place third at Central Coast Selection and win leagues
The Palo Alto High School girls’ swimming team poses for a group picture outside in the Quad last year. The team hopes to place third at Central Coast Section and win Leagues this season. Photo by Phoebe So.

Despite the major loss of key swimmers, the Palo Alto High School swimming team looks to rebuild this season starting with its first league meet next week against Gunn High School.

Notable losses include graduated seniors Scott Powell, Omri Newman, Andrew Liang and Willy Lee for the boys, and graduated seniors Karina Goot, Caroline Moeser, Jayna Wittenbrink and junior Brittany Nguyen for the girls.

In addition, according to senior boys’ swimming captain Ryan Drover, this year, Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics swimmers were asked to choose between swimming for Paly or for club. As a result, juniors Andrew Cho, Daniel Sing and sophomore Alex Liang chose to swim with PASA instead.

“I’ve been swimming for PASA for nine years now and if I had to choose Paly or club, PASA would always be my first commitment,” Liang said. “PASA has made me the swimmer I am today.”

Drover said that the last season was great for Paly boys’ swimming, as no other team in several decades came as close to beating Bellarmine for the Central Coast Section title.

“Due to the PASA conflict, the boys’ swimming’s primary goal this year has been changed … from a CCS title to now focusing on defending our league title and maintaining our streak,” Drover said.

According to Drover, key swimmers to look out for this season will be seniors Winston Wang, Winston Wang (there are two), junior Robert Cheng, senior William Shin and senior Ryan Drover.

Drover said that even though the team lost a lot of its top swimmers and does not have much depth as last year, the team will make it up by training hard and having the boys step up.

The meet at Gunn next week will be by far one of the hardest meets of the season, as Gunn has the swimmers who have a good shot against Paly in dual meet scoring, according to Drover.

“I believe that it will be a good and close meet,” Drover said. 

Although the boys’ team will suffer from major losses due to the PASA conflict, the girls’ team remains undeterred and hopes to do better this season.

With only one senior this year, girl’s captain Sarah Putulin, and key swimmers freshmen Zoe Lusk, Peyton Wang, sophomores Haley Chalmers, Grace Zhao, and juniors Kayleigh Svensson, Katie Francis, the team hopes to place and win in both Leagues and CCS.

According to Putulin, the team did very well last year, placing eighth at CCS and second at Leagues.

“Our goals for the team this year are to win Leagues and place in top three at CCS,” Putulin said. “ I have no doubt that we’ll kick butt at the dual meets.”

Putulin said that so far everyone on the team has great energy, even during “crazy” hardcore practices.

“I’m super excited for this young, fast team,” Putulin said. “Being the only senior girl is a bit intimidating, but it’s all good.”

The boys’ and girl’s team’s first league meet will be at 3:45 p.m. Thursday, March 12, at Gunn High School.