Making waves

The TPHS swim and dive teams are capping off a successful season after both boys and girls teams won 2024 Coastal League Championships on April 27, adding two more titles to a list of 14 league wins from just the past decade.

Led by varsity swim head coach Richard Contreras and dive head coach KC Tudor, the TPHS swim and dive teams have already notched several individual league victories, highlighting the athletes’ dedication and skill in the pool.

Elek Zettle (12), a swim team captain, placed first in the boys 100 and 200 yd. freestyles, as well as the boys 200 and 400 yd. freestyle relays at the April 27 League Championship. At last year’s Division I CIF champions, Zettle led the charge in the 100 yd. freestyle and the 200 yd. medley relay.

“None of my wins could’ve happened without my team,” Zettle said.  “I have such a great support group … and they were able to make me believe in myself at times when I didn’t believe in my potential.”

Natalie Wang (12), another team captain, won the 200 yd. medley rely on April 27. Like Zettle, Wang secured a medal for the team at last year’s CIF championships, winning the girls 200 yd. backstroke.

Besides individual accomplishments, Wang and Zettle said that teamwork has been instrumental in the team’s success.

“We have pom-poms and tutus that we bring to every single meet … it’s definitely an unwritten rule for everybody to cheer at least five times for each other,”  Wang said. “Seeing and hearing everyone cheer for you definitely gets you more excited.”

Zettle agreed.

“We all want to win, and when we’re all focused on this shared goal it makes [practices] more fun because everyone’s very invested,” Zettle said.

Photo by Anna Opalsky/Falconer

Wang said that the teams’ many wins were accompanied by team bonding activities, where athletes and coaches would “encourage and get encouraged by each other.”

Ezra Purcell (12), a diver on the team, echoed this sentiment.

“[The coaches and I] have a great bond. I’ve been the only boy on the [dive] team for the last four years, so we have developed a great connection,” Purcell said.

Purcell is a Division I CIF diver whose objective of the season is to “win CIF and [place] top eight at states.”

Contreras hailed the team’s performance as a testament to their dedication and hard work in the pool.

“I’m grateful that every time the team gets in the pool, I know I can depend on them, no matter the situation,” Contreras said.

The TPHS swim and dive teams will compete next for the Division I CIF championship at Granite Hills High School on May 4.

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