AOTM: Charles Tam


Freestyling through the waters since eight years old, senior Charles Tam has learned valuable life skills and lessons from competitive swimming. Persistence in training to meet these goals has taught Tam that swimming is more than a sport.

“I learned what it meant to develop a bond with my teammates and coaches, and how these connections in life are what make life so great,” Tam said. “I also learned that there will always be setbacks that come your way, but it is what you do with those struggles to overcome them and find success.” 

Tam was introduced to swimming by his cousins since his childhood. During his competitive high school career, he has been awarded Hacienda League Champion eight times (three relay, five individual), 2023 Hacienda League MVP, 2022 CIF Division I Qualifier, 2023 CIF Division II Finalist and 2021 Most Improved Award. 

Tam also swims for Trident swim club, where he has earned the awards of three time Junior Olympic Champion—100 Free in 2015, 100 Breast/200 Breast in 2021—named Southern California Swimming All-Star Festival Team, Sectional Championships Finalist and Futures Championships Qualifier.

“My greatest achievement in swimming was qualifying for the Futures Championships last summer,” Tam said. “It was such a big deal to me since it was the most prestigious meet I ever qualified for with fast time standards needed for qualification.”

Tam specializes in the breaststroke events, specifically swimming 100 meter breaststroke. His training schedule includes two hours of practice six times a week and two gym visits a week.

While his grind continued, the one year hiatus Tam took during the pandemic in 2020 was a major setback in his swimming journey, putting him at a major disadvantage. 

“From the school closure up until exactly a year after, I did not swim at all and shifted my focus to the gym,” Tam said. “After learning that we were gonna have a 2021 high school season, I rejoined my swim club to train. Surprisingly, I made major progress in a short period of time and improved my best times significantly.”

His most memorable moment in the sport would be the past Hacienda League Championships where he placed first in all four of his events, naming him League MVP.

“The atmosphere at the meet was very thrilling,” Tam said. “Especially on the last relay event when I was on the last leg and took home the win against Walnut.”

Tam does not have any future goals for swimming and does not plan on continuing his swim journey after high school. However, he will continue to weightlift.

“I will be focusing on weightlifting, which was a big part of my performance in the sport,” Tam said.  “I’m grateful for everything swimming has given me.”