Defending Champs Ready to Come Out Swimming

Having regained the title of city champions last year, the girls’ swimming team confidently comes into season, fighting to hold on to their title.

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Fresh out of a city championship victory, the Penguins, Stuyvesant’s girls’ swimming team, are looking to reestablish themselves as a PSAL swimming powerhouse and defend their title. The girls’ swimming team has consistently placed at the top of the Bronx/Manhattan A League, but last season proved to be a particularly pivotal one, as they finally recaptured the championship following a two year drought.

The team’s new leadership feels confident about going into this season but also feels the pressure to hold onto their title. “We held it for six years until we lost three years ago [during] my freshman year, and we didn't get it back until last year, so I think we all feel the pressure of trying to keep the title in our possession,” senior and co-captain Maia Brydon said. Brydon, along with senior and co-captain Lauren Ng, joined the team when the Penguins were coming off a dominant streak in which the team won the city championship six years in a row. It wasn’t until their freshman season that the Penguins finally relinquished their title to Francis Lewis High School after getting disqualified during semifinals. The team is ready to pursue the championship once again and hopefully start another successful streak.

Filling in the shoes of last year’s captains, Maddie Wong (‘18), Luola Chen (‘18), and Annie Wu (‘18), Brydon and Ng have a daunting challenge ahead of them. However, the captains are ready to step up to the challenge. “It’s very exciting and also intimidating because I love my team and leading them takes a lot of responsibility. From keeping track of all our swimmers and their progress to making apparel, having Maia as my co-captain makes everything a lot easier,” Ng said. They are also grateful for the rest of the seniors and upperclassmen on the team, who have stepped up and contributed to help lead the team.

Their work has been recognized by their coach, Silvana Choy. “My captains are organized and hard-working. I'm happy with the job that they are doing,” Choy said.

Similarly, Choy seemed to care more about the effort her swimmers put into the season and practice rather than the title. “There is always pressure to defend a title, but I like to focus on the process and not the outcome. If the team gives 100 percent at practice and in meets, then I am happy regardless of the outcome. I feel that I have a strong, committed group of young ladies, and I'm very happy with what I see in practice so far,” Choy said.

The swimmers came together frequently to practice over the summer, often at Stuyvesant’s pool, but are all training for different events. Events at meets include the medley relay, freestyles, backstrokes, and several dives. Nevertheless, the team works towards the same ultimate goal. “We all train for our own specific events (since each of us swims according to what we're best at), so everyone has their own goals for the season, but really as a team, our goal this year is to be city champs and win opens championships this year,” Brydon said.

The Penguins boast a strong roster across their events, including both talented upperclassmen and underclassmen. “Emma Lee and Arielle Aney are our top freestylers. Mandy Chan, Natasha Moeslinger, and Mayumi Schaepers-Cheu are very strong IM-ers. Stella Oh and Anna McGillis are our powerhouse divers. All of the girls on the team have individual strengths, and I look forward to seeing them progress throughout the season,” Choy said.

The team’s first meet will take place on September 24 against Laguardia High School. Last year’s season also started off with the two teams meeting, resulting in a 62-34 win for Stuyvesant. “I'm looking forward to giving the rookies an opportunity to get their feet wet and to see where everyone's at at this point in the season,” Choy said.

The captains also made note of some their rivals, schools that have provided the most competitive matchups in recent years. “Within our district, our biggest competition has been Bronx Science,” Brydon said. Bronx Science High School’s team finished right behind the Penguins last year in the regular season, sporting a 8-2 record compared to Stuyvesant’s 10-0.

Looking ahead, Brydon said, “But really we're rivals with Brooklyn Technical High School. We've been against them in finals the past two years; they won two years ago, and we won last year. But since they're not in our district, we won't compete against them until playoffs.”

The Penguins understand that this is a new season that will come with new challenges. They are hopeful that their hard work in practice will materialize into another championship banner.