July 1, 2016
Back Row L-R: Kennedy Truex, Preston Tsang, Maxime Rooney, Tori Kaleta. Middle Row: Christy Chong, Danielle Zacharias, Caitlyn Plattel, Katie Woods. Bottom Row: Alex Gilchrist and Ryane Skinner (Chris Lee not shown)
The Pleasanton Seahawks competitive USA Swim Club has 12 seniors who will graduate with the class of 2016 from local high schools. All of them will go on to attend colleges throughout the country. These swimmers have grown up as part of the Seahawk family, with a few swimming for the team for as many as 8-10 years.
Christie Chong (San Ramon Valley High School) has swum 3 years with the Seahawks. She will have the opportunity to swim at Olympic Trials this summer and then will attend Princeton University to swim for the Tigers. “I have learned how to put in 100% of my effort in all areas of life, how to enjoy my achievements and how to learn from my mistakes, “said Chong. She also said, “There is no other group I would rather spend 19 hours a week with. I love them all very much.”
Alex Gilchrist (Amador Valley High School), a Seahawk for 8 years, has committed to attend and swim for the University of California San Diego. When asked about swimming for the Seahawks he said, “I am going to miss it very much. All the coaches I have worked with have taught me so much, and I am thankful for all they have done. I will really miss being a Seahawk…but then again, once a Seahawk always a Seahawk!”
Also attending the University of California San Diego and swimming for them will be Tori Kaleta (Granada High School) who swam 3 years with the Seahawks. Swimming is hard work and she remembers how Coach Steve always pushed her very close to her breaking point but how it always paid off in the end. Kaleta’s favorite thing about swimming, “I love the way it feels to be in the water.”
Six year swimmer Chris Lee (Dougherty Valley High School) hopes to study Biology as a Pre-Med student. Being a Seahawk has provided Lee with some amazing teammates/friends and he has enjoyed competing with them. He said that swimming has taught him “that it’s okay to fail and that I should fail, to get stronger and better.”
Caitlyn Plattel (Amador Valley High School), a Seahawk for the last 4 years, will study Biology with a Pre-Med path while also swimming for the University of California San Diego. She has learned through swimming to “always do something that you love, push your body to limits you didn’t know, and you will achieve more than you ever believed you could. I also learned how to be a leader and role model in and out of the pool.” She enjoyed being a Seahawk because, “the team is truly a home away from home; they become your family.”
Maxime Rooney (Granada High School) has been a part of the Seahawks for 10 years. After competing in Olympic Trials this summer, he will be attending and swimming for the University of Florida in the Fall. “I enjoyed every day of being a Seahawk. I’m really grateful to have met a lot of amazing people that have impacted my life in many positive ways, making myself a better swimmer, student, son, and man of God,” he said. When speaking of swimming, Rooney said he enjoys being able to do what he loves every day and enjoys the feeling of freedom and full expression he experiences in the water.
Pepperdine University will be adding 4 year Seahawk, Ryanne Skinner (Foothill High School) to their swim team as well as to their Political Science major as she has aspirations to be involved in law. Skinner said, “I love the “swimmer’s high.” The feeling you get after a race where all the hard work has payed off.” Swimming has taught her to be responsible while juggling school and swim, and how much determination it takes to be the best.
Part of the team for 5 years is Nathaniel Sproul (Granada High School) who will be majoring in Marketing at UC San Diego. Getting to swim Halloween Relays in costumes with Coach Todd is something Sproul will never forget. He will also never forget, “The special relationship we all have; grinding through sets together as a group produces unique friendships.”
Kennedy Truex (Foothill High School) will be attending and swimming for Michigan State University studying Political Science with a pre-law track. Truex swam with the Seahawks for 3 years. Her favorite memory was achieving her Winter Junior National cut and traveling to Austin Texas, making great memories with her teammates.
Preston Tsang (Tracy High School) a 2 year Seahawk will major in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue. Tsang said that what he enjoys about swimming is “the drive that keeps you going despite the wins and losses.” He enjoys his teammates and said, “Swimming has taught me to be an upright and disciplined individual while demonstrating that work can translate to success.”
Katie Woods (Livermore High School) has been with the team for 8 years. She will be attending and swimming for Texas Christian University. Woods loved going to away meets like Sectionals because it was so much fun and everyone got along so well. She said, “It’s just a great team.” Woods enjoyed training with her best friends and said, “I love everyone in the group and can’t imagine not training with them.”
Attending Florida Atlantic University and swimming there will be Danielle Zacharias (San Ramon Valley High School). In her 5 years with the team she learned that “nothing comes easy and that hard work pays off, even if it doesn’t appear to. Being a Seahawk has taught me that being average is unacceptable and that you must do what others are unwilling to do so you can succeed.”
Many of the swimmers favorite memory was their first place finish at the December 2015 California Nevada Sectional meet in Southern California. The meet was very competitive and they loved having such a large group qualify to attend, being so close as a team, cheering for each other, and hearing their name announced as “Champions!”
Congratulations to the Pleasanton Seahawk Class of 2016! Best of luck in your exciting futures!