Seo found a new path to victory

Already a multiple CIF individual titlist, Crescenta Valley's Young Tae Seo led Falcons to fulfill team's great potential, winning a Division II championship.

July 14, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk
  • Crescenta Valley High's Young Tae Seo is the 2012 All-Area Boys' Swimmer of the Year.
Crescenta Valley High's Young Tae Seo is the 2012… (Cheryl A. Guerrero,…)

Already one of the most decorated individual high school swimmers in area lore in his first two years at Crescenta Valley High, the one achievement that had eluded Young Tae Seo was a CIF Southern Section Division II team championship.

It wasn't for lack of motivation or focus on the task, says Falcons Coach Jan Sakonju.

"That's the great thing about him, [the CIF team title] has actually been his goal since he was a freshman, to get us there," Sakonju says. "He's always been very team-oriented. You don't always get that in such an individualized sport, but he's always pushed for our team to excel and that's what also makes him a special athlete."

Seo has always displayed the ability and willingness to use his stunning individual talent for the greater good of the team — with Pacific League team titles and top-three team finishes in CIF highlighting his first two years as a Falcon — but never so much as in his junior season.


In addition to scoring a bounty of points with individual wins in the 200-yard individual medley and 500 freestyle, Seo swam the anchor leg of the 400-freestyle relay win that clinched the program's first championship since 2000.

"My favorite part of the CIF finals was the 400 free relay," says Seo, who was caught on the front 50 by Damien's Jason Haney, but held him off in a photo finish by .42 seconds at the end to win the relay and allow the Falcons to edge the runner-up Spartans, 301-293. "That I will never forget. We watched it over and over again when we came to school as a team and we still get nervous watching that, we get so excited."

No other boys' swimming team in the area equaled what the Falcons accomplished this season, just as no other individual athlete was able to claim as much success as Seo.

As a result, Seo was voted the All-Area Boys' Swimmer of the Year by the sportswriters and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader, Pasadena Sun and La Cañada Valley Sun for the third year in a row.

"I'm happy that I won again at CIF," Seo says. "The team won, that's the best part. We enjoyed it. We didn't get nervous this time, we just had fun. It was the best high school year ever, I will never forget it."

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