The Lady Cougar swimmers and divers finished their season on January 29 with their ninth consecutive OIA Championship win. The boys’ team prevailed with second place.
After a strong preliminary session, the Kaiser swimmers came back to compete at finals. Not only did the girls win, they also smashed several records; juniors Erin Patterson, Mari Yasumi, Sophie Harrison, and freshman Sofia Carlson in the 200 medley and 200 free relays as well as Harrison in the 100 butterfly.
Harrison also finished first in the 200 freestyle event. “I’ve always loved racing and winning is always a plus. The races were super fun and I really just went all into it, trying to win for my team. Breaking the record really brought it over the top, I couldn’t stop smiling,” she said. Other top finishers included sophomore Micah Ginoza in the 200 freestyle, senior Noah Carlson in the 100 freestyle, Yasumi in the 500 freestyle, Patterson in the 100 backstroke, and sophomore Jill Chaffee in the 1 meter diving event. Additionally, a number of Kaiser swimmers finished in the top 12 positions during the finals session. “I gave it my all this year and tried my best in every race,” said Ginoza, commenting on his 200 freestyle triumph this season. “It made the practice I did everyday feel worth it.” Ginoza was recognized by his coaches as one of the most hard-working athletes on the team.
Throughout their season, several Kaiser swimmers qualified for the state championship competition and will be competing in Maui on Feb. 9 and 10. “I’m super excited to go to states because I never thought I would make it,” said junior Sarah Lorenzo, who placed tenth in the 50 freestyle. “I’m going to give it my all.”
After a fierce nine years, Coach Asa is optimistic for the team’s future and eagerly anticipates another championship victory in 2019. “We’re ready to come back and win it for a tenth season in a row,” he said.
Overall, this season’s triumph has left the swimmers with valuable experiences and enthusiasm for the 2019 season. “Swimming is the first sport I’ve ever joined and it allowed me to grow as a person in ways like commitment and teamwork,” said junior Mana Nozawa, who aims to make states in her senior year. “This win was a great way to end my swim season. I felt that my effort from all four years would pay off.”