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Valley’s 2020 Swim Team

Valley Swim Team Members Qualify for Regionals Before Season Suspension

May 20, 2020

While the Valley Swim Team did not have any official meets before the NIAA season suspension in early March, they did have two practice meets with the possibility for swimmers to qualify for regionals, which are now canceled this year due to the COVID19 pandemic.  Head coaches of the girls and boys teams respectively, Ryan Ocampo and Joshua Lelonek, said many swimmers qualified for regionals already.

Ryan Ocampo
Valley swimmer at practice meet.

“In both meets, we had athletes show off their dedication and potential,” Ocampo said.  “It was an incredibly exciting time where we saw our team get motivated and looked forward to seeing improvements every week. However, all of that enthusiasm backfired when the season was canceled. We are hoping that fire comes back next season with our returning swimmers.”

Emily Arseno is a senior swimmer this year who would have completed a full four-year high school swim career.

“She joined as a freshman during my first year as a coach,” Ocampo explained, “ and, despite being brand new to swim, she would go on to qualify for several regional events and lead the team in progress and dedication.”

Kelly Pedrick
Senior Emily Arseno still promotes the Swim Team during her senior send-off parade on May 7th.

Another model swimmer who took on “the fiercest challenges,” according to Ocampo, was Victoria Guzman. 

Not only was she dedicated to swim, but she has a leadership role in her MSTEM program as well as maintaining a steady job after school,” Ocampo added.  “She led through example and effective communication. Swimmers would look up to her for her ability to persist through the daunting workouts we would give.”

Although swimming for his first time, Kimo Hoopii “powered through every race we tossed him into,” Ocampo shared.  “He has a fierce and determined mindset to absolutely destroy any physical challenge that comes up. He qualified for several regional events early on in the season and shows promise through extensive practice and honing of technique.”

Michael Gonzalez is a senior swimmer who would have finished his third year with the team. 

“He worked so hard year after year to break his sprint record and was poised this year to do just that and lead our Boys Relay team to several victories,” Ocampo stated.

Ryan Ocampo
Valley swimmer at practice meet.

Ocampo and Lelonek were trying to build a strong team for the Spring 2020 season. 

“We focus on building the best athletes in and out of the water,” Ocampo said.  “We were looking forward to sending our best to regionals through qualifying individual events and through earning a spot on a relay team. Overall, we worked for progress every week and the building of a strong cohesive and supportive team.”

Ryan Ocampo
Valley swimmer at practice meet.

Three-year swimmer and junior captain Penelope Reyes misses seeing the faces of her teammates.  Her main event is the 500-yard freestyle, and she will stay in shape by working out at home and running cross-country in the fall.

“Swim, in my opinion, is really where the heart of team sportsmanship is,” Reyes explained. “Whoever you are, we will always cheer you on!”

Nine-year swimmer, junior Arianna Marroquin has swam in every event throughout her years swimming.  

“The thing that I like most about swim is the sort of aspect of family that I get from it,” Marroquin shared.  “Everyone is there for each other; you never have to worry if someone is going to be there to cheer you on. You always have the support of the entire team behind you.”

Both Reyes and Marroquin miss their coaches.

“They make the team feel like a family,” Marroquin explained.  “Even though we all compete in the water separately, they make sure that we know how to work like a team. They both also push us out of our comfort zones and get us to do things that are hard, but in the end, are very rewarding and are something that we can look back on and be proud of.”

Ryan Ocampo
Valley swimmer at practice meet.

The coaches plan on coming back stronger and hope the swimmers will release their pent up energy and enthusiasm in the water.

“For our younger swimmers, know that this will not stop us. Just like in swimming, we cannot fight the water. We have to flow with it and manipulate it to propel us further. Don’t waste time fighting the fate that has already happened,” Ocampo emphasized.  “Instead, find ways to improve yourself, improve your technique, and become better and ready to take on the next challenge – next year’s season.”

“We want our seniors,” Ocampo added, “to realize that just like a race, this event is another test of your character and mental capacity. Focus on your goals, try your best, and finish the race and you will find yourself better than the person you were before you started this ordeal.”

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