Transfer excels in first year in the pool

Transfer excels in first year in the pool
YuAng Zhu ‘23 busts through the lane in his final event at the Ralston Meet. Photo by Landen Fogle.

Transfer YuAng Zhu ‘23 dove into the pool in just his seventh meet as a Mount Michael swimmer. This time, the sophomore broke records during the meet at Ralston High School, shattering both the 200 and 500 freestyle school times.

Zhu recorded a time of 1:51.54 in the 200 and 5:07.30 in the 500, drastically improving his previous times.

“That meet was awesome,” Zhu said. “Especially swimming at Ralston. That is by far the nicest pool that we swim at.” 

The previous record-holder, Jackson Thompson ‘16, stood on the pool deck, watching Zhu burst through the lane. The first year assistant coach only expressed joy as his record was overcome. 

“I am proud as both an alumnus and coach,” Thompson said.  “Records are meant to be broken, and I am excited for the continued success of Mount Michael swimmers.” 

Due to NSAA regulations, Zhu was forced to wait 180 school days until he could participate in his first swim meet.

“Honestly, it didn’t affect me a lot as I was still able to practice,” he said.

Swimming has always been a key part of Zhu’s life as he is approaching his twelfth year participating in the sport. 

“I used to swim for the club and city team in China,” he said. “I’ve always had a strong passion for the sport.”

Zhu’s passion influences his teammates as well.    

“Leon brings a great, positive attitude to the team and is a fierce competitor,” Thompson said. “He pushes his teammates to train harder and is always striving to get better.”

As the swimming postseason nears, Zhu has begun to put in extra work in the pool.

“My practice helps me a lot. I push myself really hard now so I can get back in shape faster,” he said. “The coaches have helped a lot too. They help improve my stroke and push me to swim better.”

Being a sophomore with eleven years of experience under his belt, Zhu and his teammates have high hopes for this year’s postseason. 

“Leon is an awesome swimmer,” Nick Wehbe ‘21 said. “He is definitely going to do something special at the conference meet and state meet.”