LEWISVILLE — The field is set for the UIL state swimming and diving championships, and several local student-athletes are preparing to make the trip to San Antonio to compete for a state title.
Swimmers punched their tickets to the final meet of the postseason after stout showings last weekend at their respective regional meets. Qualifiers from Lewisville ISD, Plano ISD, Allen and Prosper impressed in Region II-6A action held at the LISD Westside Aquatic Center on Saturday, swimming a full regional slate in one day with preliminary races held in the morning and the finals conducted in the evening. Programs like Lovejoy, McKinney North and Prosper Rock Hill swam from Frisco ISD’s Bruce Eubanks Natatorium in Region III-5A.
Spots in the state meet were tougher to earn this season, as the UIL reduced the number of qualifiers in each race from 24 to 16 — the eight regional champions plus the next eight fastest regional times around the state — but that didn’t deter a handful of Metroplex standouts from extending their seasons for a couple more weeks.
When the time comes, they’ll head south to San Antonio’s Josh Davis Natatorium for the state meet. The UIL is holding the boys and girls meets on separate weeks — the girls will swim on Feb. 19-20 and the boys on Feb. 26-27.
East’s dynamic duo
Plano East exited Saturday’s regional meet with some individual hardware for senior Trey Dickey, whose performance accrued enough points to earn boys swimmer of the meet honors. Fittingly enough, Dickey’s teammate, junior Gio Linscheer, placed second.
The duo qualified for the state meet last year and are once again headed to the final round of the postseason after qualifying in two events apiece on Saturday. Dickey had the top time in the state in the 500-yard freestyle after swimming a 4:25.70 and qualified as a call-up in the 200 freestyle after taking second at regionals with a 1:39.75.
Linscheer, meanwhile, took the top spot Saturday in the 200 individual medley (1:49.97) and will join Dickey in the 500 freestyle after placing fourth at regionals with a 4:31.24.
As a team, the Panthers took fifth overall with 171 points. They finished one spot below rival Plano West (194), which will participate in three events at state. The Wolves won the 200 medley relay at regionals with junior Theodore Chen, senior Antonio Romero, freshman Josemaria Romero and junior Kai Joshi swimming a 1:33.64. Antonio Romero will also swim the 200 IM (1:51.27, third place at regionals) and 100 butterfly (49.98, second).
Lady Jags close strong
The Flower Mound girls edged Richardson Pearce for second place in the team standings, 242-240, and thanks in large part to a resounding homestretch that saw the Lady Jaguars win three of the final four events on Saturday.
Those victories belonged to the 200 freestyle relay of junior Julia Wozniak, senior Rachel Stange, sophomore Halina Panczyszyn and senior Kendal Harwell (1:37.33), Panczyszyn in the 100 backstroke (56.49) and Wozniak in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.59). Stange added a win in the 100 freestyle (52.17).
The Lady Jaguars earned two qualifications as call-ups as well, with Wozniak competing in the 200 freestyle after taking second at regionals (1:51.01), as did the team’s 200 medley relay of Panczyszyn, sophomore Naomi Shah, senior Riley Edmundson and Wozniak (1:45.19).
Marcus and Hebron will be represented at state as well. The Lady Marauders were paced by qualifying efforts from senior Kaylyn King in the 100 backstroke (57.60, fourth place) and junior Sydney Rice in the 1-meter diving competition (430.70, second). Hebron senior Marian Cheramy qualified as a call-up in both the 200 IM (2:06.10, second) and the 100 breaststroke (1:05.02, second).
Prosper relays step up
Although Prosper’s boys narrowly missed out on a district championship, the Eagles were the highest placers among 7-6A at Saturday’s regional meet. The team took third overall with 218 points, trailing Southlake Carroll (386) and Jesuit (267) on the strength of two relay wins.
The quartet of junior Lane White, senior Justice Hunt, senior Mithuun Ramesh and junior Samuel Taylor teamed up in each race, swimming a 1:24.40 in the 200 freestyle relay and a 3:05.26 in the 400 freestyle relay. The latter doubled as one of the closest events of the meet, with Prosper eking past Carroll by 11 tenths of a second.
White added a win in the 50 freestyle at 20.63 to automatically qualify for state, while Hunt joined the mix as a call-up after taking second in the 100 freestyle (46.02).
Allen’s waiting game
Allen’s girls team took fourth overall on Saturday with 233 points but had to wait for a bit to learn just what that meant as far as the state meet was concerned. The Lady Eagles fell short of procuring an automatic qualifier at regionals but instead made the cut as call-ups in four events.
The 200 medley relay of sophomore Karoline Reeves, junior Catriona Gilmore, junior Natalie Tang and senior Lara Alsader qualified after placing third at regionals with a 1:44.81 and closed out their meet with a second-place swim in the 400 freestyle relay (3:31.47).
In between, Gilmore placed third in the 200 IM at 2:06.52 to advance to state and Reeves took third in the 100 backstroke at 57.49 to make the cut as well.