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So has set bar high

Yumi So’s senior year was defining moment of a rare and splendid high school career

July 25, 2009|By Gabriel Rizk

Tirelessly pushing herself to be better than she was the day before, Yumi So’s work in the pool is seemingly never done.

Her time at Crescenta Valley High, however, is. So’s is a local legacy worth remembering and celebrating and one that anyone who comes after her will have their work cut out in duplicating.

Over the past four years, she became a fixture and often a feature attraction on all the biggest stages of the high school swimming season — Pacific League championships, CIF finals and Masters Meets — and amassed a collection of titles and records at each stop.

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“It’s my goal to be at my best potential at any meet,” So said. “Whatever team I’m representing, I want to represent them proudly and give them my best.”

A year-round swimmer, who competes at national events during the summer with her club team, Swim Pasadena, So gave her focus and her best efforts to leading the Falcons in her final year on the team.

Her senior year saw her reach high once again and come away a winner on every level. As a result, So was a unanimous choice for All-Area Girls’ Swimmer of the Year, as voted on by the sportswriters and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun.

“It was amazing,” Crescenta Valley girls’ swimming Coach Robert Miller said of his experience working with So. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a swimmer that has been able to produce results like she has.”

The month of May contained a career’s worth of highlights for So, beginning with the Pacific League finals on May 8 at Burbank High.

So shattered two of her own league records there, in the 100-yard butterfly and 200-individual medley, claiming the sixth and seventh league titles of her career and leading the Falcons to a share of the league championship.

Days later at the Division II finals on May 16, So became a five-time CIF champion with dominant victories in her two events, the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke.

Her butterfly time of 53.03 seconds that day at Mount San Antonio College was a CIF Division II and state record and came about a half second away from the national high school record. Her backstroke time was also .85 seconds faster than the previous Division II record that had stood for eight years.

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