Taz honored its senior swimmers at Saturday's meet. From left to right are: Kyle Bare, Jerry Chen, Aaron Taylor, Calin Navickas, Trevor Dong, Ashley Abraham, Sonia Chimni and Sam Sruba. Courtesy photo


Taz finishes on top, honors graduates

By From page A6 | July 23, 2014

The El Dorado Hills Tasmanian Devils swim team concluded their regular season Saturday, July 19, as they hosted and defeated the Granite Bay Gators during the last dual meet of the Suburban Swim League. The final score of 432-353 gives Taz top placement in the league with a perfect 7-0 record.

During Saturday’s meet and as tradition, eight Taz graduating seniors were honored poolside.

Ashley Abraham has been swimming with Taz for the last nine years and also assists the team as a swimmer coach. She will attend the University of the Pacific with plans to study bio-medical engineering. She received the very prestigious Powell Scholarship, which focuses on students whose future could make global impacts. While attending Oak Ridge High School, Ashley swam, played four years in the marching band and was voted this year’s Prom Queen. Ashley volunteers in programs like Interact and builds homes in Mexico for underprivileged families.

Sonia Chimni has participated the past five years with Taz. Next year, Sonia will study chemical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. She was a member of the Honor Society, Interact Club and Link Crew at Oak Ridge. In her spare time, Sonia teaches reading and writing in Punjabi to kids in her church.

Calin Navickas joined Taz at the age of 9. As a volunteer coach, she earned the nick-name “Coach Jungle Gym.” Calin attended Oak Ridge High School where she swam varsity all four years and attended sections twice. She also played polo for four years and served as team captain during her senior year. Calin will attend Chico State University with a major in pre-nursing.

Samantha Sruba started in first grade as a Taz swimmer. As a now 17-year-old, Sam plans to return next summer and compete on the Taz team marking a 12-year tenure. In fall, Sam will head to Cornell University to study biology and chemistry in her pursuit of becoming a doctor. Samantha will also be a member of the Cornell gymnastics team, competing in Division 1 NCAA. In 2014, Sam won State Bars Title as a two-sport athlete. In 2011 she was the National Judges Cup Champion. Earlier this summer, Sam and her dad swam the Alcatraz Shark Swim, finishing first in her age group.

Kyle Bare started swimming on the Taz team when he was 6 years old. Kyle has enjoyed being a swimmer coach for the last two years. Swim and water polo have been his focus, and Kyle will be competing for the third time in the Junior Olympics this weekend. He plans to attend Sierra College in fall with a concentration on criminal justice; Kyle will be swimming and playing water polo for the school as well.

Jerry Chen started his Taz career at the age of 8. He also swam for Oak Ridge High School and continues in the water as a Taz swimmer coach. Jerry has achieved the esteemed level of Eagle Scout and at the age of 16 will be attending UC San Diego. He plans to study computer science.

Trevor Dong started swimming with Taz at the age of 6. Trevor will be attending Oregon State University to study forestry management and play water polo. During his senior year at Oak Ridge High School, he received the coveted Athlete of the Year award. In addition, the Sacramento Bee awarded Trevor the All City Swimmer award. Trevor holds three NorCal Swim League records, three High School Delta League records, five Taz team records, two Suburban Swim League records and is an All American for relays.

Aaron Taylor has been with Taz for the last five years. Aaron is a swimmer coach for Taz and was honored as the Most Inspirational Swimmer.  His interests outside of the pool include computers and robotics. Aaron has volunteered his time helping kids in computer labs. He has competed for six years on a robotics team and that team reached the World Finals. Aaron will be attending UC San Diego to study computer engineering and play club water polo.

“Seeing these kids being recognized is bittersweet. They’re an amazing group and will be missed,” said Taz president Brett Jones. “We have a lot of good swimmers as underclassmen that can follow; we just have to get them back here. There are so many other activities that they’re all involved with.

“It’s been a great season. Marc (Brown) has done a phenomenal job as head coach and in his first year as a rookie.” he continued. “I’m confident that we’ll go undefeated on the season but Champs will be a dog fight. Granite Bay is solid, Broadstone is too and Park Terrace is always good. But, we’ve been strong this year and there’s a good vibe about it.”

The Devils will prepare all week for the SSL Championship Meet which takes place on the weekend, July 25-27 at Sierra College in Rocklin. Should the Taz win at Champs, it will mark two consecutive years of enjoying the title. Prior to 2013, five years had passed since the Taz claimed the SSL Championship trophy. For more information on the EDH Taz visit edhtaz.org.


Patty Pope


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