It’s hard to choose the best moment in a swim season full of so many successes.

For Devon Chaney it was the Cougars’ meet against El Camino High School. They were missing quite a few teammates and El Camino was known to have a very good team. It was tough going, but Half Moon Bay managed a tie by winning the 400-meter freestyle relay and the 100-meter breaststroke, saving the team’s undefeated record. For Louisa Kearns it was at the Peninsula Athletic League Championships where their 200-meter relay of Kearns, Sydney McGuirk, Angel Tinetti and Mirabelle Fischer got first place.

“We really wanted to win, and we went out there and swam our best time and won, which boosted our confidence and was a really fun moment for our relay team,” said Kearns in an email to the Review.

While there are plenty of stories like this from the team's decorated season, the swimmers know it never comes down to one swimmer or one meet.

“Everyone was always smiling and cheering for each other at meets, and even if someone had a bad swim, their teammates would be there to boost their spirits and offer encouragement,” said Kearns. “I think that having such a strong team connection really helped us, since we would swim for each other and put in extra effort when the team needed the points to win the meet.”

Chaney and Kearns both think the biggest strength of the team is their spirit.

“We were always cheering each other on during our races,” said Chaney, in an email to the Review. “I try to always bring a positive attitude to all the practices and meets. Morning practices are rarely fun, but I hope that if people see me and others having a good time then hopefully they find a way to get over their morning blues. Having a positive attitude at meets helps a lot.”

When coach Melina Gold talks about her team, it's clear just how proud she is of its season this year. And Half Moon Bay High School swim teams are deserving of this praise, the girls going undefeated in the Peninsula Athletic League and winning the championship, and the boys securing seven wins, no losses and one tie.

“The team was very united,” said Gold. “Everyone was feeding off of each other and building each other up and making each other better.

“We had our first meeting before the season started, and I stressed how important teamwork is and how we’re going to be much more successful if we work and train and grow as a team. And they did,” she said. “They all took it seriously and it paid off.”

The entire team of 36 swimmers made it to PAL finals, although some weren’t able to compete for scheduling reasons. Dedon Prince took it a step further going to the Central Coast Section tournament for the 200-meter free and 500-meter free.

“He’s a very dedicated athlete and had some major time improvements this season,” said Gold. “He definitely stands out on the team.”

Gold also emphasized that part of the reason the team did so well is that the swimmers are always in the water in one way or another. Some surf, some play water polo and a few swim on the club team.

Team members that competed in the PAL finals included Prince, Chaney, Kearns, Jacob Wyman, Liam Wilson, Wyatt Brians, Baker Book, Brennan Higaki, Connor Lucas, Gavin Koelsch, Isaac Goulart, Jake Curthoys, Angel Tinetti, Alexandria Shick, Mirabelle Fischer, Phoebe Grant, Sydney McGuirk, Zoe McAnerney, Ayla Griffiths, Danica Leon, Isla Ragozin, Josie Nelson and Lily Conaghan. Prince, Brians, Wilson, McGuirk and Tinetti were named First Team All League. Seniors on the team include Shick, Jess Palmer-Sammons, Sara Gorman, Bobby Simmons and Wyman.

“To be honest with you, everyone did fabulous,” said Gold. “I can point to strong points and improvements every week. I have super high praises for everyone for one thing or another.” 

Emma Spaeth is a staff writer for the Half Moon Bay Review covering community, arts and sports. Emma grew up in Half Moon Bay before earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oregon.

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