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All-Stars swim team makes a splash

The Kern County All-Stars competed at the Southern California Municipal Athletic Federation Swim Championship in Santa Clarita against teams from the Los Angeles and San Diego area, taking home first place for both the boys and girls divisions.

The All-Stars team is a postseason group of swimmers that includes the best boys and girls swimmers ages 5 to 18 from throughout Kern County.

Joaquin Castillo is the head coach, along with coaches Angel Davila and Kenneth Rodriguez.

Castillo coached the Wasco High School swim team from 2009-2021 and was also the head coach for the Tigersharks swim team for a few seasons throughout that time.

The last time he took Wasco swimmers to the SCMAF was in 2016.

He said the All-Stars team has grown.

"In 2013, we took 10 swimmers, 45 in 2016, and we had a tremendous return this year with 61 swimmers in total competing."

Of the 61 this year, 19 came from the Wasco Tiger Sharks.

It was a highly competitive event against 15 other teams.

"There was a lot of great competition for our swimmers and our athletes placed near the top for each race, and we had many swimmers who took first in their events."

Some of the All-Stars swimmers began practicing in April.

"The swimmers from our local area did some intensive training sessions where they worked on their technique, timing, endurance and dives in the weeks leading up to the championship."

"They put in the work at practice and that's why they did so well."

He added, "They are amazing. I am proud of them for signing up and wanting to participate to represent their county at the championship."

Sophia McCuan is one of the All-Stars swimmers who is 13 and has practiced the sport for seven years.

Of the championship, she said, "I was nervous because of how many people I was going to go against, but my coaches helped me a lot. I wanted to give up a few times, but at the end of the day, I did it."

She is grateful for her team.

"We all did a great job. I was excited we won first place."

Sophia said she has learned from the sport.

"It's not an easy sport to do. You have to work hard to achieve your goals."

Castillo said apart from the lessons learned, his swimmers are also taking home strong values from the sport.

"Swimming is a full-body sport, and so when kids swim, they must use every muscle in their body and every part of their brain."

"An active body with an active mind helps to prepare these kids to be successful in the future."

He added that swimming is a challenging sport.

"When kids set out to be their best in swim, they have to learn how to challenge themselves and be self-motivated, and those are characteristics of successful people."


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