Urban School swimmers battle Lick-Wilmerding, Drew School in final meet of first-ever season

They came, they saw, they swam.

In the final meet of the 2013 swim season, Urban put up a strong battle against both the Lick-Wilmerding and Drew School swim teams at City College of San Francisco on May 3.

Laurel Taschetta (’16) was able to take home the only Urban 1st place spot in the 100-yard backstroke event. Cyrus Rosenberg (’16) took 2nd place in the 50-yard freestyle. Team captain Zach Welsh-Retzlaff (’16) took 2nd place spots in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly events.

Unfortunately, only one Urban fan witnessed Taschetta’s win. Maia Bruno-BaSaing (‘16), showed her Urban pride by attending the final swim meet to cheer on her peers.

“I’m disappointed in Urban students’ commitment to the school’s sports,” said Bruno-BaSaing.

This team especially could have used the support. It had been in limbo as an afterschool activity for several years until finally coming together as a team sport this year. Helena Kleiner (’13), along with Ella Andrew (’14) and Alex Evnin (’14) have worked for the creation of an Urban swim team since 2010.

“I was really excited that I could swim for my school and swim with other Urban kids,” said Andrew.

“I would walk into (Urban athletic director) Greg (Angilly)’s office every week to say ‘hi,’ and see if he made any progress on finding Urban a pool and starting the swim team.”

Finally, in October, Angilly found a pool and a coach. Tom Liu, who recently moved here from China, and swam the 200-yard butterfly at Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, was hired to coach the 2013 season.

Coach Liu talks with his team before the meet.

Coach Liu talks with his team before the meet. Photo by Aleah Jennings-Newhouse

“Me and a couple other people proposed the idea and then we realized a bunch of people were interested,” said Andrew. They were able to gather 13 Urban students, who composed a successful team for the first season.

“As a first year team, we (were) very strong. We delivered great performances during practices and competitions. It was a wonderful season for us,” said coach Liu.

Added Rezlaff: “I think our greatest strength is our enthusiasm and teamwork.”

Even though the team maintained a good

attitude throughout the season, it still has room for improvement.

“Our weakness is training, because this was a lot of people’s first time on a swim team, and there were no cuts,” said Retzlaff.

The team also managed not only to grow stronger as a team, but to form new friendships during the season as well.

“Everyone is really enthusiastic and supportive of everyone on the team,” said Taschetta. “Even though swimming is an individual sport, it doesn’t feel like that because everyone cares about everyone else’s success as much as their own.”

Following the May 3 meet, the team saw “Iron Man 3” and celebrated its surprising success over dinner at Super Duper Burger. The Urban swimmers are hopeful for continuing their success and improving in the years to come.

“In the future, I see us growing. I think a lot more people will join, and we need a permanent pool, but we will grow,” says Retzlaff.