Swimmers get a taste of the outdoors

Ram’s Haylei Plageman (right) begins her 200 yard freestyle race. Her final time was 2:14.87 on March 1, 2013 at the College of San Mateo. Photo by Juan Pardo / The Guardsman.

By Alex Lamp

The Guardsman


It was a scorcher March 1, and the College of San Mateo was hosting the Bulldog Invitational, where City College’s women’s swim team was primed and ready to explode off their starting blocks and into the pool.

“The Rams are a very adaptable swim team, and they are all very hard workers,” said  City College assistant coach Alyssa Stember.

Adaptation is a key trait for the Rams. The often chilly San Francisco weather does not allow for a comfortable open-air session, confining the Rams to their indoor campus pool. They are the only junior college swim team on the West Coast accustomed to practicing indoors, Stember said

City sophomore Cynthia Tran shared her coach’s pride for her team’s unconditional work ethic.

“Our team is a bunch of hard-working girls. We don’t skip practice, we don’t complain about our sets, we go out there and just do it,” Tran said.

Sometimes just doing it means that you have to quickly adjust to meet specific demands, especially in Cynthia Tran’s case.

“I usually swim the 100 fly [100-yard butterfly], and the 200 IM [individual medley],”  Tran said.

Knowing that she is not a sprinter, head coach Phong D. Pham entered her in the 200-yard freestyle event, and Tran managed to shave approximately five seconds off her previous time finishing in 2:10.89.

The most challenging set for Tran was the 50-yard butterfly, a sprint set.  She came in seventh finishing in 30.28.

“I want to go out there and just do my best, because I am not really a sprinter. A lot of what I’ll use is sure power,” Tran said.

Sophomore Karla Ocampo was also thrown into a set she was unfamiliar with.

“I’m used to swimming the 50-yard breaststroke, 100-yard breaststroke or 50-yard freestyle,” Ocampo said.

She was placed into the 500-yard freestyle event and finished in 9:40.43, coming in last.

“I’m just glad I finished it, and I finished the last 25 yards strong,” Ocampo said. “Now I know that anything under 500-yards is a piece of cake.”

Nonetheless, Ocampo dominated the 100-yard breaststroke, and blew the girls out of the water coming in first and finishing in 1:40.68.

“It was my first time getting first place. I was so excited and surprised,” said Ocampo.

The Rams next meet will be at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo on March 8-9.

City College participates with 8 other community colleges in a swim meet held at the College of San Mateo on March 1, 2013. Photo by Juan Pardo / The Guardsman.

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