CCSF Swim Team Gracefully Navigates The Competition

State qualifier and assistant coach Alyssa Stember, and state qualifiers Roselin Strepisalsilp and Carrie Guilfoyle talk during a swim practice at the Wellness Center Pool, on May 8, 2012. SHANE MENEZ / THE GUARDSMAN

The Guardsman

Lucas Almeida

The City College women’s swimming team finished their third season showing improvement and knowing they had reached their goals — to perform better at the Coast Conference Championship and to qualify more swimmers to the state championship, sending two competitors to the statewide meet held April 26-28 at East L.A. College.

Swimmers Carrie Guilfoyle and Roselin Sretpisalsilp were two new stars who performed well both at the Coast Conference Championship and at the state championship.

The women’s swim team placed second at the Coast Conference Championship held at College of San Mateo April 19-21. The Rams’ finish was the best ever for City College at the Coast Conference Championship and an improvement from last year’s fifth-place result.

Guilfoyle finished with a final time of 1:00.63 in the women’s 100-yard butterfly, which secured her an individual Coast Conference Championship in that event.

At the state championship Guilfoyle competed in three individual events. Her best result was in the 100-yard butterfly placing 14th with final time of 1:01.53. She also placed 17th in the 50-yard butterfly with preliminary time of 27.70 and 18th in the 100-yard medley with a preliminary time of 1:04.60.

Guilfoyle analyzed the past two seasons swimming for the Rams as a positive one, not only for herself, but she congratulates the team effort as well.

“First of all it’s been very fun to say the least. I started swimming last year competitively for the first time in close to 12 or 13 years and I had to relearn a lot of swimming techniques,” Guilfoyle said. “It took me the whole season last year to develop myself as a swimmer and it was really this second season where I could finally move up to my potential as a swimmer and I was able to set goals for myself and I exceeded all those, which was really fun.”

She added: “In terms of the team, I think having co-captains and leadership that make (it) to state is a really good example for swimmers who are very committed for them the following years to say, ‘I can do that too.’ Because last year seeing Alyssa (Stember) go (to the state championship), I was so excited for her and I kind of followed her own line.

“So this year I put my mind to it, I focused, I ate right, I did everything I could to make
(it) to state and I was able to do that… and now  I can see the swimmers who swam their first year looking up to me and Roselin saying, ‘If they can do it, I can do it too.’”

Guilfoyle also shared her successful season with Alyssa Stember who was the assistant coach alongside Pham this season and the first star of the swimming program placing 7th in the state championship last season in the 50-yard backstroke and also receiving All-American status, both breaking school records and succeeding academically with a 3.69 GPA.

Stember was severely injured throughout last year’s season and on many occasions had to be pulled out of the water due to thoracic outlet syndrome in her right shoulder, but she is still proudly writing her name on City College swim team history.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, thoracic outlet syndrome is rare condition that involves pain in the neck and shoulder, numbness and tingling of the fingers, and a weak grip. The thoracic outlet is the area between the rib cage and collar bone.

The second star and co-captain this season, Roselin Stetpisalsilp, won multiple individual Coast Conference Championships finishing first in both the 50-yard backstroke and the 100-yard backstroke with times of 28.60 and 1:01.08, respectively.

Stetpisalsilp also competed on three individual events in the state championship with her best result in the 50-yard backstroke placing in 8th with final time of 28.77, 11th in the 100-yard butterfly 1:01.60 and 19th in the 200-yard medley with preliminary time of 2:22.08.

For Stetpisalsilp, better technique and commitment were crucial for improving her own and the team’s performance this season.

“We had better technique this year, we worked on a lot of drills and things to help us focus,” she said.

Assessing the season, she said everyone was close which helped everyone push each other do their best.

Now with the season over and remarkable goals achieved, head coach Phong D Pham is satisfied with the effort and commitment the swim team showed this season.

“I saw improvement not just at their times (swimming results) but also the number of swimmers that came down for the team and the numbers of swimmers that competed and finished the season,” Pham said. “We had 24 swimmers finish the season and that’s the largest number in the last three years. They were committed to be on the team and work hard. That’s definitely great and we’re moving on the right direction.”

Pham said this year the team focused a lot on stroke techniques, kicking, starts and turns and visualization that helped time improvement and better results in the Coast conference championship and qualifying more athletes to the state championship.

Even though the swimming program is getting better each new season, Pham said he knows he will need to work more on better recruiting to get talented student-athletes since he is losing two of his starts, Guilfoyle and Stetpisalsilp. For next season he has his eyes on few remaining swimmers with good potential, he said. Mara Allen is breaststroke swimmer and Haylei Plageman’s best event is freestyle.

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