Senior caps off career with two more State titles

Hayden Zheng looks forward to Stanford swimming career


Abby Prestholdt

Senior Hayden Zheng swims the butterfly stroke in practice March 10. Zheng committed to Stanford after finishing his Park swimming career with eight State titles.

Adam Gips

After winning two State swimming titles in his senior year, senior captain Hayden Zheng said even with COVID-19 he had an exhilarating season.

“It was a great season considering everything … the (two State titles were) exactly what I was looking for,” Zheng said. 

According to sophomore and teammate Miles Nordling, Zheng’s motivation pushed the team to have a record-breaking season, as Park had the most State qualifiers in its history.

“(Zheng) doesn’t swim on our level, but he keeps himself socially on our level. And he’s very modest in what he does (which) is very impressive,” Nordling said. “He is a great guy all around. He’s a really amazing captain, and he’s very competitive, which helps the team overall.”

According to boys’ swim head coach Amanda Forsberg, Zheng has a strong work ethic and encourages the team to be successful.  

“He is there day in and day out, doing two-a-days, but he’s also a phenomenal teammate,” Forsberg said. “It’s not just about him, it’s about the whole team. He wants everyone else to succeed, just as much as he does. He’ll go through starts, turns, whatever anyone really needs.”

Due to COVID-19, Zheng and his teammates missed a substantial amount of practice. He said it was important to keep pushing mentally to fill in for the missed training.

“This year is actually really different because I’ve had such sporadic training. So it’s less physical work and more mental work. Staying motivated. Just keeping a good mindset throughout all the weeks that I had to take off,” Zheng said. “Everyone had to take off, it’s just how I can stay ahead in any possible way.”

Forsberg said although he’s leaving for Stanford his legacy will always stay with the team.

“He’ll definitely be missed, but he has left his mark … we will still reference him. We’ll still talk about things that he’s done, his success, work ethic and positivity,” Forsberg said.

Nordling said he’s looking forward to seeing what Zheng accomplishes as he continues his swimming career.

“He’s got a really good shot at making the Olympics,” Nordling said. “I’m really excited to see what his college career brings.”