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The Paw Print

The Paw Print

Athlete of the Issue: Michael Munder

Jason Mitchell

At 5 a.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, senior Michael Munder is already warming up for his morning laps. With his fervent dedication to swimming, Munder has been a standout member of both the Poly varsity swim team and the Rose Bowl national swim team since sophomore and junior year respectively.

Munder’s mother knew he had a calling for the water when at two-years-old he jumped into a pool, splitting his head open. Both out of caution and curiosity, she decided to enroll him in swimming lessons.

Munder’s biggest strengths as a swimmer are his speed, strength and reaction time. The fraction of a second it takes him to dive off the block after hearing the whistle is one of many qualities that set him apart from other high school swimmers.

A sprinter, Munder’s best events are the 50 meter freestyle and the 100 meter freestyle. He is ranked 54th nationally for the 50 meter in his class with a 20.45-second personal record, and he holds a 44.96-second personal record in the 100 meter.

Munder attends nine practices totaling 15 hours every week at the prestigious Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, ranked number one in Southern California swimming. Despite his commitment, Munder had to give up swimming during the pandemic his freshman year.

Coming out of a COVID rut, Munder’s passion for swimming reignited when he joined the Poly varsity team his sophomore year. He credits his captains, Maaso Ortega ‘22 and Nathan Tu ‘23, for showing him their love of the sport. For Munder, being co-captain of the team his senior year means a chance to pay forward Tu and Ortega’s influence.

Freshman team member Arjun Singh said, “Whether in the pool or on campus, Michael is always encouraging and is a great role model to us all.”

Munder’s co-captain and fellow senior Patrick Seo also emphasized the positive energy Munder brings to the team. “He’s a really funny and charismatic guy. It’s just fun to be around him,” Seo said.

Munder has been integral not only to the team’s morale but also to the team’s wins. On Tuesday, March 30, 2023, in a meet against South Pasadena High School, Munder helped the team secure a 105-62 victory in the 200 medley relay, swimming breaststroke.

During the 2023 season, Munder along with Seo, Tu, and Oliver Mann ‘25 broke Poly’s 200 freestyle relay record of 1:28:90 set in 2009 with a 1:28:80 time, one tenth of a second faster.

One of the holders of the original relay record was Poly alum Andrew Saeta ‘09. Saeta’s name still remains atop many categories in the Poly record books. However, Munder hopes to change those records this season.

Whether or not Munder’s name replaces Saeta’s for most individual Poly swim records, Munder has undoubtedly left an impact on the school’s swimming program.

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Morgan Rangel, Editor-in-Chief
Grade: 12 Years on Staff: 4 Fun Fact: I was on the Poly Varsity Softball team... for a whole three days. Favorite Movie: Election (1999)
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