There are a handful of remarkable people who walk into our lives and, without even realizing it, we find ourselves introducing them as family. Timmy Pourkazemi is one of those for me, and so it is with absolute biased excitement and pride that I get to share these senior photos with you. We did his senior photoshoot just weeks before COVID-19 sent us all scrambling into our rabbit holes, before we knew that graduation and senior swim season and moving off to college would look so different than what he had dreamt about. This year has turned out to be tough, but it has also proven something: absolutely no amount of adversity can put out Timmy’s contagious laughter and smile.
Timmy Pourkazemi and his mom walked into my parent’s backyard for swim lessons when he was three years old, and Timmy may very well have been one of the youngest swimmers to perfect the butterfly stroke in that backyard pool. In the years that followed, Timmy went on to play water polo at Vista Murrieta High School and finished out his high school career as team captain. He also swam competitively on the swim team, and despite missing his senior swim season due to COVID, Timmy still holds the school record for the 100 Butterfly. His determination and skill in the water are just a reflection of the enduring passion, grit, and talent with which he lives his life.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
– E.E. Cummings
A few of my favorite things about Timmy Pourkazemi, that I truly believe will set him apart wherever he chooses to go: He is kind, the type of kind that goes out of its way to see, really see, people. He has a sense of humor that sets every room alight with laughter. His loyalty to his people is unmatched. And he knows who he is, so assuredly, that he is not easily shaken.
On more than one occasion, Timmy and I, along with a little crew of Swim to Shore friends, swam a mile in the frigid Pacific Ocean to raise money for drowning prevention. While all the teenagers and twenty-somethings in our group (myself included) were whining about the cold water and our fear of sea creatures, ten-year-old Timmy was out in the ocean lapping us and doing butterfly just for the hell of it. From his days braving ocean swims to later annihilating the pool during water polo games, Timmy Pourkazemi is a force to be reckoned with, and no one will stop him from accomplishing what he sets out to do.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
– Nelson Mandela
To the whole Pourkazemi family that has been grafted onto mine, I am so grateful that Swim to Shore brought us together fifteen years ago. You’re the family we got to choose, and that is one of the very best kinds.
Timmy is heading off to the University of Toronto in just a couple weeks to start his pre-med journey, and wow, does he have a whole army of humans cheering for him as he starts his next big adventure. I have a few proud tears as I am signing off… I don’t know if it’s possible to be more proud and inspired by another human being. In this year of weirdness and disappointments, I see so much light in Timmy and all that he is carrying into the future. We’re in need of strong, kind, brilliant leaders, and he is already one of ’em. Cheers to you, Timmy!
And a few bloopers for the way out:
“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.”
– Maya Angelou