In high school swimming and diving, success is ultimately measured in improvement. By that metric, the Los Gatos High swimming team—though it lost both of its Santa Clara Valley League De Anza Division meets this season—has already accomplished something worthwhile.
In the season-opening league dual meet against Palo Alto High on March 4, the Wildcats—despite coming up on the short end of the boys and girls team scores—97% of the athletes on the team swam personal-records (PRs), according to coach Jim Deming.
“That was just phenomenal for the team,” said Deming, who was an assistant coach for the previous seven years before taking over head coaching duties this season. “That was an exceptional start for the season and we’re moving along in the right direction. We don’t really chase winning the meets so much as having everyone make progress toward year-end goals and improving.”
In the team’s second league dual meet against Homestead High on March 11, the Wildcats lost both the boys and girls competitions. But there were nine additional swimmers to hit Central Coast Section qualifying times, Deming said.
Senior Zoe Frangieh (50 freestyle) and freshman Ava Taylor (100 breaststroke) nailed individual CCS cutoff times against Palo Alto, as did five relay teams: the girls 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free and the boys 200 medley and 200 free.
Frangieh had a superb season for the girls water polo team that advanced to the CCS Open Division playoffs last fall.
“She’s a multi-sport athlete and water polo is her strongest sport, but she’s obviously a good swimmer as well,” Deming said.
Indeed, superior swimming translates into a superior water polo player, and Frangieh fits that category as she is the school record-holder in the 50 free. Deming is optimistic Frangieh can break her own school record by the end of the season.
“Zoe is one of our team captains and a fantastic person to have on the team,” Deming said.
Taylor has already made her mark as a freshman with her ability to swim multiple events. Deming said Taylor is capable of swimming above average to fast times in pretty much any event, but her best event might be the 500 free even though she nailed the 100 breaststroke as her first CCS qualifying time.
“Ava is one of the more talented swimmers on the team and we’re expecting big things from her,” Deming said. “She’s extremely versatile and will be running through all the events.”
Frangieh and Taylor are members of the 200 medley relay team that also includes Abby Lockman and Mio Nakamura. Frangieh is also a part of the 200 free relay squad that includes Vanessa Lee, Jackie King and Lily van Putten.
King, Lee, van Putten and Taylor form the 400 free relay. The boys 200 medley team that hit the CCS cutoff time against Palo Alto includes Josh Naim, Matt Cheang, Aidan Lu and Tyler Newton. The boys 200 free relay squad includes Newton, Duncan De Ranieri, Santiago Jackson and Connor Sullivan.
In terms of which relay teams are fastest relative to the competition, Deming said the girls 200 and 400 free squads have a chance to do well in the CCS A final.
In the team’s second league meet against Homestead, Karly Frangieh, Zoe Frangieh, Katy Hawk, Ewan Lonergan and Taylor hit additional CCS qualifying times.
Karly Frangieh nailed cutoff times in the 50 free, 100 free and 200 individual medley; Zoe Frangieh in the 100 breaststroke; Hawk in the 100 butterfly; Lonergan in the 100 breast and 200IM; and Taylor in the 200IM and 500 free. Karly Frangieh’s 100 free time of 52.77 seconds is good enough for CIF state consideration.
Ava Lavosky was the highest-placing Los Gatos girl in the dive competition against Palo Alto, and coaches Mike Berwald and Karla Albright have teamed together for over a decade now to give Los Gatos divers a chance to compete and improve.
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]