by Elvis Lau
With the Boys JV taking second place in the all-cities last year and its current record of 3-2 for Girls JV, 4-0 for Boys JV, 3-2 for Girls Varsity, and 2-2 for Boys Varsity, the Galileo swim team has been making steady improvement over the last years. However, their success didn’t quite begin this way.
Two years ago, the team’s original coach, Coach Lem, had to leave the team. As senior Cooper Beaman recalls, “we struggled to find a replacement. Luckily, Coach Mikal, who didn’t have much experience with swimming, stepped in and quickly learned the basics of coaching a team. This is our second year under Coach Mikal’s leadership, and we are thriving as a team, competing relatively well against schools with larger and more experienced teams such as Washington and Lowell. Thanks to the dedication of our team members and the hard work of Coach Mikal, we will bring home several victories for Galileo as the season progresses. If Coach Lem were here today, I know he would be proud.”
Although captain Michelle Chen and manager Danielle Lam have graduated, there are many new recruits—Brosnan Tran, Timothy Cheng, Lillian Lee, Joseph Li, Kevin Lei, Mateo Langston, Eric He, Devan Chan, and Tyler Lee—all who are freshmen except for Mateo, a sophomore; the team peaks at 34 members. The captain of the swim team is junior James Lau, and the coaches are Mikal Hasan and Andrea Galdamez; managers include freshmen Jenny Choi and Emily Yu and sophomore Elizabeth Lai.
While the team is competing for the first time at the Boys Varsity level this season, the team is filled predominantly with JV boys. As James states, “this year is different from last year because we are based mostly on JV swimmers; since we got second place last year, we are looking forward to getting first this year. As a team, we are looking for a fun season.” In addition, Ms. Galdamez wants to “make swimming more popular, especially for girls. As a female presence, I hope more girls will be encouraged to try out for the team.”
The Galileo swim team practices at North Beach Swimming Pool on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 3:30PM to 5:00PM. According to senior Joe Lau, “we are practicing very hard this year. We do a lot of core exercises and work on sprints and drills; we also do distance swimming sometimes.”
Coach Mikal adds, “We’ve made a lot of progress over this past year. Our swimmers have become affiliated with outside clubs and are more dedicated to swimming than before. In particular, Ava Van Natta is one of our best swimmers, as well as a great athlete. Captain James has also been pivotal in our team’s operations.”
As the season progresses, the future looks bright for Galileo. Heading into the meet with Balboa High School on Friday, April 8, the team is confident in securing a win. As Joe says, “you never know what you’re capable of until you try.”