The Taipei American School boys swimming team won first place at the 2018 International Association of Southeast Asian Schools competition, hosted at Jakarta International School from Feb. 1-3.  

“I am so proud of every single member on the team,” says co-captain Justin Wu (’19). “It feels absolutely amazing to be just the third TAS boys swimming team to win gold at IASAS.”

Co-captain David Wang (’19) notes that the high average team performance was what ultimately netted the boys team their IASAS win. “This IASAS taught me just how much of a team sport swimming is,” he says. “We were all focused not on what was best for ourselves, but what was best for our team, even if it meant giving up opportunities to earn individual medals.”

Along with the overall team victory, many of the boys team members also placed for individual races. Jason Lin (’21) earned a bronze medal for the 100-meter breaststroke and a silver medal for the 200-meter breaststroke, while Hironori Kondo (’21) earned bronze medals for the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke.

The team placed in two relays: Lucent Lin (’19), four-year IASAS swimmer Jack Chen (’18), Nicholas Lin (’18), and Benjamin Wei (’19) won first place for the 4×50 freestyle relay; and Ethan Dawn (’21), Daolong Yang (’21), Justin, and Jason placed second for the 4×100-meter medley relay.

For Hiro, the highlight of IASAS was the strong team spirit. “We were there to win together and to lose together,” he says. “And I can’t say the same for any other team I’ve been on.”  

Meanwhile, the girls swim team placed fourth, earning many individual medals and swimming record-breaking speeds in the process.

Co-captain Jessica Wegner (’18) won gold medals for the 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly, as well as silvers in both the 50-meter butterfly and the 50-meter freestyle. She broke school records in all four of these events, in addition to the IASAS record for the 100-meter butterfly.

Sisters Shawyuan Hsu (’19) and Shawfong Hsu (’21) each placed in several events. Shawyuan placed third for both the 100-meter backstroke and 50-meter freestyle. To her own surprise, Shawfong placed third in the 400-meter individual medley, second in the 100-meter breaststroke, and first in the 200-meter breaststroke. “I wasn’t really expecting much because I am a freshman, and we aren’t supposed to do well,” she says.  Not realizing that she had placed third for the 100-meter breaststroke, she went up to the podium wearing her shirt backwards while still eating her banana.

The girls team performed well at the relays. Shawyuan, Shawfong, Jessica, and Natalie Hon (’18) won second place for the 4×100-meter medley relay, breaking yet another TAS record. For the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, Nakiah Pannell (’20), Cybill Lee (’21), Vivian Chien (’18), and Sharon Kuo (’19) earned a bronze medal.

Overall, the 2018 IASAS competition has been a great step forward for both teams, and the numerous freshman achievements means that TAS has good reason to be optimistic for the future. Justin says, “I hope this year’s results inspires everyone to come back even stronger for next season.”