Appendicitis Sidelines Star Swimmer in SoCal

Madeleine Singh, Sports Editor

Varsity swimming took home the combined gender 1st place trophy at the annual Mission Viejo Invitational in southern California on March 24. The girls placed 2nd behind Torrey Pines High School while the boys topped the 37 team field.

The squad was successful in spite of the absence of senior star Michael Wheeler, who had emergency surgery due to appendicitis after becoming increasingly ill during the trip.

“The whole bus ride there, he’s like ‘Ughh’ and felt really sick, and looked like he was gonna throw up or something, but he couldn’t figure it out cause he like, couldn’t throw up,” explained junior Christina Crum, one of Wheeler’s teammates. “And then he eventually left the swim meet. He didn’t swim, he was just kinda sitting there, and then they took him to the hospital and he got his appendix out.”

Wheeler received necessary surgery at a hospital near the meet venue, then flew back to Moraga a day after his teammates had already returned home.

The team was motivated to perform well in Wheeler’s absence. “[Wheeler getting sick] definitely didn’t ‘kill the mood’ because then everyone was like, ‘Oh, do it for Michael!’, but he’s definitely a really fast swimmer, so we had to have people pick up his slack,” said Crum.

“The guys sorta rallied behind that, like ‘We just gotta step up and swim,'” agreed coach John Studebaker.

“The whole time [during the meet], we’d get little updates on Michael, so we’d pass ’em along to each other,” added teammate junior Paige Hanley.

Notable races included the girls’ 100 yard breaststroke, in which freshman Channing Hanley, junior Paige Hanley, and senior Megan Colpo placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively. “I think that’s the 1st time that’s happened in a while, so that was really fun,” said Paige Hanley.

Aside from Wheeler’s illness, the meet was a success for the Campolindo swimmers. “The swim team really meshes when we’re together, and you just get to talk to people you never really talk to,” said Crum.

“I feel like every year is the same, but I always feel like I get to know people [on the team] more, which is always nice,” agreed Hanley of the bonding that happens during the trip.

“This year, we had a lot of underclassmen swimmers, we had a lot of underclassmen stepping up,” said Studebaker. “Overall, we had a nice balance of kids and everyone knew it was gonna take [effort from] every person swimming in order to score.”