SMC sinks competition

Last month SMC swim team members Louisa Lau, Michelle Liu, and Jeff Lum represented SMC at the State Championships at East L.A. College. Jeff Lum brought home three out of three first place awards in the 100 and 200 freestyle events, and set a state record in the 200 individual medley in a race described by Coach Steve Contarsy as, "Probably the most exciting race of the weekend." His three consecutive victories earned him the Swimmer of the Meet award.

Michelle Liu also claimed first place in the 100 individual medley and second place in the 200.

Liu, who grew up in an urban setting in Northern China, has been residing in California for a little over year. She moved out here to pursue swimming and after originally attending Whittier College, decided to transfer to SMC.

Another native to China, Jeff Lum grew up in Honk Kong. After his parents heard through word of mouth about SMC's swimming program, they decided to enroll their son as a student. He touched foot on U.S. soil for the first time just three months ago.

Louisa Lau did not place in any of the events but was by her teammates sides during the meet offering support that helped propel her teammates past the finish line.

Traveling the entire length of the Pacific Ocean to immerse yourself in American culture is no easy task.  "One thing that absolutely amazes me is the ability of foreign students to transition," said Contarsy.

As an international student, Lum's schedule can become hectic and stressful at times but as he explained, the pool can be a sanctuary of sorts."When you go into the pool, you forget about everything, homework, your schedule, everything," said Lum.

He went on to explain that he also thrives on the discipline of a swimmer's life-style. "Managing yourself is very important," said Lum.

Already, Lum seems familiar with campus life, and although not entirely sure of where his swimming will carry him, he plans on staying in California for at least the next few years.

Coach Contarsy has been working with students for the past twelve seasons and with this year's talent under his supervision, he seems more alive than ever. "He's a great coach," said Lum, "and never sits down."