The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

February Athlete of the Month Zara Masud Swims Towards Success

This 2023 Pacific Coast League champion and four-year all-American continues to excel in and outside of the water
Donya Yazdihan
Senior Zara Masud smiles brightly at what she considers to be her second home: the pool.

Ever since she was five years old, senior and varsity swim team captain Zara Masud has been submerged in the world of swimming. 

Having been captain for two years, Masud emphasizes the vibrant swim environment that can be found on our campus. 

“Woodbridge is known for having a really great swim culture, so that’s why I came [here],” Masud said. “I specifically wanted to stay here and swim, and the coaching staff is amazing, [along with] my teammates.” 

As a four-year varsity athlete, Masud’s athletic journey has been largely defined by the strong bonds formed with her teammates.

“My athletic experience as a swimmer has been amazing, my teammates are some of the closest friends I have at Woodbridge,” Masud said.

Masud’s most significant accomplishment is advancing her academic career at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Division I school. She will officially join the Georgia Tech swim team in Fall 2024.

Back at the high school pool deck, the swimming pool itself bears the nickname “The Dub Tub,” designed to instill a sense of empowerment and inspire optimal performance among swimmers. The slogan is proudly adorned on all swim gear, serving as a steadfast reminder of the team’s collective identity.

In addition, under Masud’s leadership, girls’ swim secured a Pacific Coast League (PCL) championship for the 2022-23 school year, sparking pride far and wide. 

Last year’s league title was definitely one of [swim’s] greatest achievements. At first, we were not suited to twin, and then we really rallied and I saw all the girls push themselves to win.

— Zara Masud

As captain of the varsity swim team, Masud takes on a pivotal role in guiding and motivating her fellow athletes. She leads by example, setting high standards for herself and inspiring others to push beyond their limits. 

“It’s important to remind [swimmers] that we have one meet every week, so it’s not the end of the world if they don’t swim their best,” Masud said. “Everyone stays really [uplifted] and our coaching staff does a good job of keeping people positive; one performance doesn’t make their [entire] career.”

Masud possesses a well-balanced competitive spirit, which she channels effectively within the team dynamics. She has also been intentional about fostering a culture of friendly competition solely within the pool environment. 

“Competitiveness is super huge in swimming…and that edge can really push our team as a whole. We can compete in the water, but once we step out, we’re all friends,” Masud said.

Masud envisions a future where underclassmen continue to develop their skills and potential, contributing to the team’s success. 

“I really want to see [younger] girls push themselves and drive to win. We have a lot of girls this year looking to win PCL titles for the first time, so I’m really excited for them,” Masud said.

Contrary to possible misconceptions, competitive swimming demands far more than just physical endurance; it is also a deeply mental game.

The mental stamina required by swimming proves equally indispensable alongside its physical demands, including breath control and maintaining precise techniques in the water. 

“[Swim] is a lot harder than it looks, and it is a sport that is super accepting of everyone,” Masud said. “Despite some people thinking it is boring, swim is really fun to watch and we have some good rivalries in swim.”

Looking ahead, Masud looks forward to swimming at the collegiate level, winning league championships for a second time in a row and continuing to cherish long-lasting friendships with her peers and coaches.

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About the Contributor
Donya Yazdihan
Donya Yazdihan, Opinion Editor
Hey Warriors! My name is Donya Yazdihan and I'm thrilled to serve as your Opinion Editor this school year. This will be my third and final year in the journalism program, and I'm looking forward to maintaining the credibility of our publication. As the Opinion Editor, I hope to provide a platform for diverse voices within the school community. Through my role, I aspire to challenge conventional perspectives and contribute to a more open-minded student body. Happy Reading, Warriors!