Ryan Set to Swim Off to Santa Barbara

Sevilla Tovar, Staff Writer

   Being an athlete is no easy feat. Practices test physical capability and mental strength, and can leave athletes feeling physically drained on rough days. A sport can also give athletes a second family, a support group which supports them in tough times and brings out the best in people. Senior Sophie Ryan has pushed through the tough times, left an impression on her teammates and coaches, and has found tremendous success in her swimming career at UC High. Her commitment to her craft has given her the opportunity to continue her career in the pool at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB).

   Ryan has invested countless hours into perfecting her swimming. “I’ve swam for 13 years. I started lessons at the age of five and haven’t stopped since,” Ryan said. “I love the sport because of its individuality. It makes your hard work much more rewarding, and you don’t have anyone to rely on but yourself.”

   Ryan’s club coach at North Coast Aquatics (NCA), Mr. Mikey Murad, gave plenty of praise for Ryan. “Sophie is one of the hardest working swimmers I’ve had the pleasure of coaching. She is extremely persistent, always pushing to become a better athlete and learns from the great, but also challenging, moments in her career,” said Murad. Ryan’s hard work and determination paid off in the end, as she was accepted into the school of her dreams. She said, “I fell in love with the beautiful campus and amazing team atmosphere. The amazing academics are another huge reason why I chose UCSB.”

   During her time swimming for club and school teams, Ryan has proved herself not only as a swimmer, but as an incredibly capable leader. Longtime teammate and friend Senior Kathryn Hazle said, “She’s a great teammate and role model,” before praising her hardwork and dedication that shines through in and out of the pool. Murad shared, “She has developed into a great leader and someone the coaching staff can always turn to as a voice for the team.”

    UC High Head Coach Brian Hernandez said, “When I arrived at UCHS during Sophie’s sophomore year, she was a lot more timid and kept to herself. Throughout the years she has grown and has opened up a lot more. She’s become well respected and admired by everyone on the team.” 

   Ryan’s performance during her time playing on both a club and high school team shows just how much she cares about swimming. According to Senior Krystal Lieu, “Sophie is one of my longest and most supportive friends. We met each other through swimming around the age of six or seven. I’m definitely going to miss seeing and training with her everyday once she leaves for UCSB, but I’m beyond proud of what she’s accomplished in the pool and at school.”

   Ryan’s commitment has been met with overwhelming support. Murad shared, “Although I am sad that her time with NCA is coming to an end, I know she is going to be a huge asset to UCSB and her collegiate team. She has proven she is ready for all the challenges that come with being a collegiate student-athlete and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Sophie. She is going to be very hard to replace both in and out of the water!” 

    Hernandez added, “I am extremely proud of her recruitment. She is a swimmer who has dedicated her whole life to swimming, and she deserves to be recruited by every school. She is super coachable. Any school would be lucky to add Sophie onto their team.”  Although her time at the high school is coming to a close, all of her supporters can’t wait to hear about her incredible accomplishments in the pool.