Zamudio has a pool of his own 

Edher Zamudio didn’t set out to be a one-man swim team at Mission this year.

But after he grew bored of soccer and bent back two fingers learning basketball, the pool started to look better and better.

"Swimming is amazing — it takes your mind to another world," Zamudio said. "You’re not thinking about work or school. You’re just having fun."

Though Mission doesn’t typically field a swim team, the Lima, Peru, native has represented the school while practicing and competing alongside Lincoln this season, making him the only Bear in water filled with Mustangs, (Balboa) Buccaneers and (Lowell) Cardinals. And it hasn’t been just for exercise. Zamudio will be one of the favorites in both the 100-meter butterfly and 200-meter freestyle in Saturday’s San Francisco Section meet, set for 1 p.m. at St. Ignatius.

"Sometimes the kids at school ask me why I’m carrying a swim bag or where I’m going and I explain it to them," Zamudio said. "I’m one of the few Latino swimmers in The City and that’s something I take pride in."

Zamudio’s journey to the section finals began when he started swimming competitively in Peru a little more than two years ago. Shortly thereafter, he moved to The City with his mom, Matilde Vasquez, and her friend Milagros Ramirez. His coach in Peru contacted Matt Roberto of the Fog City Hammerheads club team to see if Zamudio could train with them. Roberto gladly accepted Zamudio and, once he found out the senior was interested in swimming scholastically, he called Lincoln coach Phong Pham and asked if there was room for Zamudio to practice with the Mustangs.

And since then, all Zamudio has done is record the fastest time in the section this season in the 100 fly (59 seconds) and the third-fastest is the 200 freestyle (2 minutes, 2 seconds) while using his easy-going nature to earn the respect and friendship of the Lincoln swimmers.

"Everyone has kind of adopted him as another member of our team," Pham said. "He definitely has the talent and he listens to whatever I tell him. Edher’s a pleasure to coach."

Zamudio also has a 4.0 grade-point average and works a few hours aweek teaching swimming while putting the final touches on his near-perfect English, a language he said he knew "just the basics" of before immigrating. He also spends more than an hour each day on Muni commuting from his Mission District home to practice at the Sava pool in the Sunset District, a trip he says is well worth the inconvenience.

"I like the hard work and the pain in swimming and how the different strokes give it variety," Zamudio said. "In cross country, you’re just running mile after mile. In the pool, it’s summer all the time."

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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