by Ruth Murai
For most people, swimming is just a fun way to cool off in the hot summer months. For LGHS alumna Helena Gali, swimming was her way of life. After swimming for nearly twelve years before giving up the sport last year, Gali worked hard to balance swimming with school, managing to succeed impressively in both.
Gali learned to swim as a toddler, and began to compete when she was seven years old. She became a dedicated swimmer in middle school when she started swimming seriously to help her water polo skill. After swimming for four years at LGHS, Gali continued on to swim at Yale her freshman year. Gali found that the transition from high school swimming to college swimming was mostly in the difference in intensity. “Swimming at Yale was different than swimming for Los Gatos, but both were great experiences that I am extremely glad I got to be a part of,” Gali said.
For Gali, her best moments during swimming were winning CCS her senior year at LGHS and Ivy Championships at Yale. At CCS, Gali’s relay team broke school records and she improved on all of her best times, ending her high school swimming career with a bang. Gali commented on the meet, saying, “I think the best part about it wasn’t as much the times and records but to look back on all four years at LG with the feeling that I was part of a great experience, and it’s still a memory that makes me happy.”
In her college career, the Ivy Championships were a major high point. At the meet she broke 24.00 seconds in the 50 free after spending months pushing herself harder than ever before. In order to achieve this impressive time, Gali trained 21 hours a week, all while adjusting to the new experiences of college on the east coast. Gali felt that she was prepared for this demanding schedule after learning to balance school and swimming at LGHS. “The most important thing with balancing both was to be organized and very efficient when working on something, regardless of what it was,” Gali said.
As for the future, Gali has stopped swimming in order to focus on the intense work required to complete her major in Environmental Science while studying Pre-Med. Her hope is to shift her focus from swimming to her promising future. No matter what the future holds for Gali, her accomplishments and successes at both LGHS and Yale .