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The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

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October 26, 2023

Making waves at state

Li perseveres through school and swim for spot
Maddy Park
Coppell swim senior Sean Li leads Coppell swim as team captain. Li takes on New York University as a business major and looks to continue swimming in college.

Three rounds. 

More than 200 teams in Class 6A look to send one individual swimmer to the state championship in search of a medal. Three stages stand in between every swimmer and a spot in the championship. 

As the white lights shined upon the calm water of the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, anticipation rose. The water softly rippled as the warmup session was about to begin on Friday, February 23.  

Amidst the excitement, Coppell High School senior swim captain Sean Li kept to himself. Cheers faded in the background as the cool, calm and collected Li got ready to compete in the semifinals of not one, but two events. 

Being one of two members from Coppell to make it that far, the pressure was on for Li. 

“Pressure is a unique aspect of these events,” Li said. “Personally, when I am under more pressure, I am able to perform better because the pressure allows me to focus on what I need to specifically focus on for an event.”

Going to state in the 100-yard freestyle and breaststroke races, Li was looking to make a statement. 

He was disqualified after a false start in the breaststroke race. However, he made it past the semifinals and into the finals where he placed 17th in the state.

Coppell swim and dive coach Jonathan Drori is particularly impressed by Li’s swimming and commitment to the sport.

“Sean is a very high level swimmer,” Drori said. “Swimmers like that have to be intrinsically motivated and good at what they do. Sean has both.”

Motivation and confidence are two words that were used by Drori, and for good reason. 

“It doesn’t matter whether I am the best coach in the world or not,” Drori said. “If he didn’t really, really want it, then it wouldn’t happen for him. Thankfully he has a great perspective and works extremely hard.”

Promoted to captain by Drori, Li has always been a vocal part of the 41-member swim team. 

“I voted to make him captain because he represents the team extremely well,” sophomore state qualifier Gabriel Campos said. “The way he leads me and allows me to improve my skills is extremely well done.”

For the past two years, Li has competed in state two relays, but this year he was looking to build his strength and make individual competitions – a significant change. 

His way of doing this was by dedicating time to the sport and making space in a very busy schedule. 

“Sean and I have really formed a bond at practices by staying with each other,” Campos said. “Coming in the mornings at eight to work on technique is something that has really brought us together and shows his dedication to the sport.”

School is a big part of Li’s success and also a main reason why Li has developed time management skills. 

“I make sure that I am not goofing around in class,” Li said. “Obviously tests and quizzes are a part of school and a part of your grades, but if you are able to focus in class and do the required tasks on time, the amount of information you can garner is massive.”

As a committed business major at New York University, the future is bright for Li who wants to pursue swimming for a club on the side. 

“I definitely want to continue swimming in college,” Li said. “I want to pursue a career in finance and continue to inspire students and lead in a way that is better for everyone and not just myself.”

Follow @namir_awan and @SidekickSports on X.

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About the Contributors
Namir Awan
Namir Awan, Staff Photographer
Namir is a junior and a 2nd year staff writer for The Sidekick. Namir loves to watch and play basketball and football. Namir enjoys learning about history because he likes learning about the past. He also loves to play video games with his friends; his favorite game is Rocket League. Namir also works at Kumon; he enjoys working there because he enjoys helping kids learn math and reading. Namir is excited for this upcoming year as he goes into his second year of being on The Sidekick. You can contact him at [email protected].
Maddy Park
Maddy Park, Staff Photographer
Staff photographer Maddy Park ended up in The Sidekick in an unexpected way. After landing a leg injury, Park had to switch out of soccer and decided ‘Why not join the school’s newspaper?’ From owning her own Sidekick subscriptions before, Park has always enjoyed reading and looking at pages on the newspaper, and decided she wanted to be a part of it all. Ever since middle school, Park has been part of the art program and appreciates what it brings to the table. Outside of school, Park plays for her club soccer team, DKSC and has been playing soccer since kindergarten. She enjoys being part of a team and getting to support one another. Her favorite movie is Lalaland and her favorite artist is JOJI. You can contact her through her email at [email protected] or on Instagram at @maddy.yp_73.

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