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The Pearl Post

The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The Pearl Post

Athlete of the Month: Tapaoan dives into a season of varsity swim

Serena Elkins
Sophomore Kaleigh Tapaoan glides through the water during a swim competition at Birmingham Community Charter High School on March 18. It is Tapaoan’s first year on the varsity girls swim team and she is excited for what is to come this season.
Sophomore Kaleigh Tapaoan prepares to dive into the water during a swim competition at Birmingham Community Charter High School on March 18. (Linus Bossardt)

Every month, we recognize two student athletes, one from a boys team and another from a girls team, for their performance on the field. This month, we recognize sophomore Kaleigh Tapaoan.

Tapaoan has been swimming competitively for seven years on club swimming teams but this is her first year on the Birmingham Community Charter High School varsity girls swim team. She is excited to continue working on improving her skills at practices and frequent competitions.

Q: What first inspired you to start swimming?

A: It all started when I was five and my parents just wanted to have me learn how to swim. Then I grew more into it and began to love the sport more, so I joined club swimming. That’s when I started to improve my techniques and realized that this is something I can do as a sport and not just for fun. I became committed to doing better and better.

Q: How long have you been swimming?

A: I’ve been learning how to swim for 11 years, since I was five. But competing wise, I’ve been competing for seven years, since I was nine.

Q: How do you balance academics and sports at the same time?

A: Swimming for me is a reliever of stress and anxiety and the overload of assignments. I do it six days a week and it helps me after school because I do work and then I go straight to practice after and it helps me disconnect from my academic life.

Q: What is your favorite type of swim stroke to do?

A: Backstroke is one of my best strokes. I really like practicing the start of a backstroke race because usually at the start, there’s a bar where you hold onto and dive on your back, and that helps you do well on the water and perform your stroke well.

Q: What is your favorite part of swimming?

A: For me, it’s having the best time that I can have. I have a lot of fun with friends and get to know people. It also improves my self-esteem and tells me that I am actually good at this sport and I am not trying to push out all the negative comments that I think in my head. Improving my techniques and times and getting into bigger meets. I always have a good time at practice and at meets.

Q: Do you plan on swimming all throughout high school and beyond then?

A: During high school definitely I’ll be doing it. For college and beyond, I’m iffy on it. I do want to do it in college but not full-time. I know people can be very committed to it.

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About the Contributors
Maggie Simonyan
Maggie Simonyan, Sports Editor
Maggie Simonyan is The Pearl Post Sports Editor and this is her first year on staff. She currently serves as the school Student Body President, National Honor Society President and is the founder of the non-profit organization Armenian Youth Education Aid. During her free time, she likes to read books, go on runs and perform Armenian dances. As a senior in high school, she is most looking forward to preparing herself for college and life beyond this year.
Serena Elkins
Serena Elkins, Staff Writer
Serena Elkins is a staff writer in her sophomore year of high school and first year on The Pearl Post staff. She is the sophomore Class President, Head of Membership in PTSA and Leadership Council Secretary. She loves to plan and volunteer at school community events. Outside of school, she enjoys painting, baking and archery. She is very excited to be a part of The Pearl Post staff and get to know the other staff members and editors while writing and taking photos.
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