After three years null of victory, the varsity boys swim team won its first meet on Friday, March 14, against Lynbrook. The date, marking the end of a three-year losing streak, was much appreciated and long overdue, according to Coach Ed Samuels.
“It’s not like the guys haven’t worked hard before this,” Samuels said. “They’ve been extremely dedicated and have worked hard for this. They finally got their hands on it.”
According to junior Ben Katzenberg, who swam the 400 freestyle at the Lynbrook meet, the victory was completely unexpected and a bit delayed.
“I figured we would lose, as most of the other schools in our league have lost to [Lynbrook],” Ben said. “Our coach told us right before the meet that in order for Los Altos to win the meet, our relay just had to make it through the event without disqualifying.”
Though the team made it through the meet without disqualifying, they did not know if they had won the meet until a week later.
“There was an issue with a timer,” sophomore Adlai Katzenberg said. “A Lynbrook parent apparently didn’t record the time correctly.”
There were also other mistakes.
“My dad was timing in lane two, and the button he presses to stop the clock broke twice” Ben said. “Also, when swimming the 500 Freestyle, [sophomore] Melod Mehdipour … ended up swimming an extra lap, meaning that while he would have gotten first place by almost 30 seconds he instead came in either third or fourth.”
Not only were there issues with the timer, but the team had also just seen the return of injured swimmer Ryan Hanni. Ryan fractured a vertebra at the start of last year’s swim season and was out of all physical activities for over four months. He recently returned this year.
“He’s been out for a year, so we all … expected him to not be able to swim as well as he used to,” sophomore Mark Conrad said. “The guy fractured his back. He was a little out of it at first, but within a few weeks he was doing really well. It surprised us to see him jump back in so quickly.”
As a result of the team’s win, they have seen increased support from the school and a greater sense of team spirit within the team.
“More people have come out to support us,” Ryan said. “Everybody [on the team] is more interested and motivated to do better than in previous seasons as well. We’re all focused and want it so much more.
Ben also feels a greater sense of team spirit since the mid-March victory.
‘It was really nice to actually win a meet,” Ben said. “It felt great and we have more confidence now.”