Diving Into the Deep End

By Hannah MacLeod

Vincent Busque’s parents introduced him to the water at age two. Busque remembers loving it so much that he would “cry when [he] was taken out.” Growing up, Busque participated in swim as well as other sports including basketball, tennis, and golf. At age eight, he started year-round swim with Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics (PASA). Throughout elementary and middle school, Busque played basketball during the winter but decided to focus on aquatic sports going into high school.

The summer before freshman year, Busque set a goal for himself: If he beat a sectional time standard, he would not play water polo but would focus all of his energy towards swimming. After reaching his goal by a fraction of a second, Busque made the decision to fully commit to swim.

Busque poses in front of Spieker Pool during a meet at M-A. 

After sophomore year, Busque made his first Junior Nationals cut by 0.01 seconds in the 200 meter freestyle. Following that feat, he made his second cut in the 500 meter freestyle by 0.04 seconds.

Junior year, Busque missed a year of swimming due to a hurt shoulder. Without the structure of swim, Busque reflected: “I was inefficient with my work” and “was overall not as happy because I didn’t have my close group of friends [from my swim team].” However, Busque’s year off “made [him] appreciate the sport even more.”

This year, Busque practices with PASA nine times (23 hours) a week. “I have a really close group of teammates…we all work super hard together…[and] fully understand each other even at our lowest points [which] builds a super close bond. We all want to be the best swimmers we can be.” When Busque isn’t at practice, he enjoys hanging out with his teammates.

The motto “blood, swim, tears” seems to sum up the bonds made between swimmers like Busque and his teammates. Although waking up at 4:45 AM with an aching body after minimal sleep isn’t always fun, the environment created by his love for the water and time with his friends makes it worthwhile. Busque also tries to “find the good parts of every workout.”

Currently, in the spring season, Busque swims on the M-A varsity swim team. Busque feels that “high school season is the most fun time of the year.” He explained, “I don’t get a chance to swim with my friends from school on my club team so it’s fun to go to class with the same people that you swim with.” Busque also enjoys having weekly meets, as his club team only has about one per month. Busque loves the team aspect of M-A swim and believes the “team’s point-based system is more fun.” This season’s goal for Busque is to place top six (on the podium) at CCS for both the 500 and 200 free style as well as go to State for at least one of his events where he hopes to be a finalist. It looks like Busque is in for an exciting season.

Junior Faith Dunn swimming breaststroke.

M-A varsity swim member and junior Faith Dunn was first introduced to swimming at age five. After four years of swimming during the summer, Dunn transitioned to year-round swim. While swimming, Dunn also participated in a variety of other sports, including soccer, basketball, gymnastics, dance, water polo, and cross country.

Following success at CCS her sophomore year, Dunn decided to fully commit to swimming in hopes of “repeating or amplifying” her accomplishments. Dunn’s goal for the school season is to have a “good run at CCS and hopefully states” for junior and senior year. She would also “love the girls [varsity] to place top five this year and next” and believes they “have good potential to do that.” Currently, Dunn swims for PASA (Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics) at the Alpine site.

Dunn has always “love[d] sports” and “loved swimming at first.” As a result of the demanding time and physical commitment, both Busque and Dunn have expressed a love-hate relationship between themselves and their sport.

Dunn “loves the way it makes [her] feel after swimming…you just feel so healthy.” Outside of practice, for both personal enjoyment and additional training, she loves to “try new things.” In the past, Dunn has tried hot pilates, cycling, hiking, and various other workouts. Currently, her “new buzz is kickboxing.”

Dunn also loves the structure swim provides in her life. “I am able to transfer my commitment, hard work, and dedication in the water to everything else I do.”

Dunn has learned countless lessons from her years of swim, “more than how to swim fast” and will “never forget what swimming has done for [her].”

Senior Jak Tedesco is looking forward to a great season.

At age six, Senior Jak Tedesco started swimming summer league at Ladera Recreation District (LRD). Tedesco has always enjoyed aquatic sports and participated in water polo from sixth grade until sophomore year in high school.

His view towards swimming has “definitely become more of a commitment and something [he has] to stay disciplined with because if you stop for just a little bit of time you’ll get out of shape.”

Spring of Tedesco’s sophomore year he made the CCS cut. After that, “it became clear that [he] could swim competitively.” After a month of contemplating if he should fully commit to swim or continue with water polo, Tedesco switched to competitive year-round swimming at PASA. His goal for the season is to break the school record of the 100 meter backstroke (53.72 seconds). Right now, his personal best is 54.95 “so [he’s] pretty far off… but we’ll see.”

During the summers, Tedesco coaches at LRD. “That’s where I learned to swim so now I just help them out sometimes.”His proudest swim-related accomplishment is “probably just sticking with it.” Tedesco hopes to swim throughout his life as “it’s really good for you because it’s so low impact.” He plans on swimming in college at a club level.

Sophomore Izzy Henig started swim at a summer league at LRD when she was four. She is the only swimmer in her family, which Henig humorously commented is “a gift and a curse. They are very supportive but they also don’t always understand what’s going on.”

At age eight, Henig started year-round swimming as she “had really loved swimming in the summer.” Henig reflected, “it’s been a passion of mine since then.”

After simultaneously playing water polo and swimming throughout middle school, Henig fully committed to swimming freshman year of high school.In March 2015, Henig qualified for the Olympic trials in the 50 freestyle. Her hard work and dedication paid off as she made the time standard that had been released two years prior by the United States Olympic Committee. She exclaimed, “[it] was one of the coolest experiences of my life.”

Currently, Henig is training to make a relay on the Olympic team. “My hope is to one day make the Olympic team in an individual event.”

Henig has not tired of swimming after all these years as “there’s always something new to work on.” She enjoys racing, making commitments, and having goals. “Its been really nice to go to the meets and hang out with the [M-A] team” despite not being able to swim until April 14, due to a sit out period after transferring from Castilleja.

When asked how her view towards swim has changed over time Henig replied, “I have definitely gotten more dedicated. I used to goof off during practice but now my goal is to work as hard as I can every practice.” For Henig, not only is there “something relaxing about swimming back and forth,” but she also loves the competitiveness of her sport.