Sophomore Emy Castaneda started this swim season with two broken ribs and was told not to compete for seven weeks. Now, she’s top seated in the 400-meter individual medley and was the only swimmer from SAC to compete in the Orange Empire Conference Finals on April 20.
“Swimming is how I train for water polo, and if I would have just stopped swimming after my injury, it would have ruined the rest of my athletic career,” Castaneda said.
Besides swimming in her best event, she also competed in the 1650-meter freestyle and the 200-meter butterfly races during the finals.
Head Swim Coach Al Reyes is proud of Castaneda for competing and choosing three of the hardest events.
“She had only been swimming again for about a month before the swim finals, and she picked three of the hardest events that you can compete in swim,” Reyes said.
Castaneda never planned to swim at the college level. After graduating from Godinez High School, she went straight into UC Davis, but after a tuition hike her first year, she made the decision to transfer to SAC.
“A friend talked me into getting back into swimming again,” Castaneda said.
Reyes is a huge supporter of Castaneda’s mamba mentality.
“He’s helped me realize what my capacity is, what really are my limits when swimming and made me be able to push myself beyond it,” Castaneda said.
This is Castaneda’s last season swimming for the Dons, but she will return to the pool for water polo in the fall.
“Wins and losses don’t matter it’s that you put your heart into it,” Castaneda said. “Always push yourself. Never give up.”
The last meet of the season will take place May 3.
Castaneda became the only swimmer representing SAC during the finals due to the rest of the Women’s Swim Team being academically ineligible and the Men’s Swim Team calling out sick for the finals due to a flu that spread throughout the team
Despite her confident attitude, Castaneda is still in pain from her injury that can only be described as throbbing but despite the pain she is still optimistic.
“I just wish I could have done more this current season, but I’m happy that I at least can still swim,” Castaneda said.