Some of Joe Wang’s favorite memories as child growing up in China are when his grandparents would take him to the local pool and teach him how to swim.
He had no idea at the time that he would be given the chance to compete as a swimmer for his high school – in the United States. Wang and his family moved here when he was in middle school, and now the Orange Lutheran senior has taken something that was just a hobby a few years ago and turned it into a memorable high school experience.
“I am honored to represent my high school as a student athlete,” says Wang. “I developed a lot of friendships among my team members, and that really brings out all the fun in swimming. It’s a team. Train together and compete together.”
Wang swam sprint distances for the Lancers, including the 50 and 100 yard freestyle events, along with the 200 IM. He enjoys the physical fitness aspects of swimming, as well as the individual nature of the sport. But nothing will replace the sense of team he has gained through his participation in the OLu swim program.
“I’ll miss my friends and all the lower classmen,” says the 18-year old. “We are like a big family in swim.”
Wang’s desire to lead his fellow teammates, specifically the younger ones, proved to be invaluable to the OLu coaching staff, even in the shortened season.
“Joe is one of the team’s favorite athletes because of his amazing way to connect with all the athletes on the team,” says OLu aquatics head coach, Ed Carrera. “He has persevered over the years and has become of our captains this year – and a varsity letterman.”
As a way to help those who are new to the U.S., just as he was a few years ago, Wang served the campus as a Diffusion leader, a program that helps international students who attend OLu get acclimated to both America and the Lancer high school experience.
Wang has a passion for computer programming and plans to pursue a computer science degree in college. He cites the many talented senior swimmers who came before him who served as role models during his time at OLu with giving him the confidence he needed to improve.
And no matter the challenge, it was always clear to Wang why he and his teammates swam.