Swimmers send off their seniors and coach 


On Friday, April 12, the Berkeley High School swim team had their senior night, a goodbye to both their teammates and their coach. The women’s team won, beating Castro Valley, Bishop O’Dowd, and Hayward. The men’s team came in at a close third against the same three teams.

Halfway through the meet, a speech was given for the seniors where their plans for after high school were announced, and they received posters from their teammates and flowers.

Head coach John McDonald reflected on the ceremony and said, “The thing that stood out was the amount of adoration from their teammates, the work that went into their poster boards and stuff like that. It’s a really good group of kids.”

Senior and captain, Abril Esqueda, described the work the team had been putting in and the sense of dedication. “We’ve been practicing really hard all year, and a lot of people have been dropping a lot of times. And as captain, I can say that I have seen a lot of improvement with overall morning and afternoon attendance and how well people swim in their times,” Esqueda said.

With an older sister who is a senior on the team, Gigi Roman-Crago, a sophomore on the team shared that they felt a sense of loss. However, they said that while they were sad to see the seniors go, they were excited to gain new teammates. “It’ll be fun to have a bunch of new people on the team next year,” she said.

The close community Roman-Crago described was something Esqueda said she would miss, especially, “jumping into the water and having a good workout and laughing with friends.”

While the seniors leaving will create a lot of changes for the team, many more changes are expected, with McDonald going to coach for a club team in Raleigh, North Carolina. The new team reportedly had many  “fast kids and several aspiring Olympians.” 

Having been hired by his former coach, McDonald said he was grateful for his time at BHS. “I absolutely love it here. I’ve been blessed with three really wonderful years. Good kids, good parents, athletic department, tremendous amount of support. So just absolutely nothing bad to say. I love Berkeley High (School)  and Berkeley swimming. I’m gonna miss it,” McDonald said.