THE COLONY – Creekview junior Anthony Paculba and The Colony junior Kaleb Ikbal each won an individual title at the Region 4-5A swim meet, clinching automatic berths in the Class 5A state meet, respectively, in the 500-yard freestyle and 100 freestyle.
Paculba dominated Feb. 6 at the Lewisville ISD Eastside Aquatic Center, clocking a time of 4:39.62, which was more than 31 seconds faster than runner-up GB Stalnaker of Highland Park (5:11.53).
The Creekview junior had the second-fastest time of any swimmer at one of the eight regional meets across the state, trailing only Frisco Memorial senior Andrew Guziec (4:38.76). Paculba will look to build on a sixth-place finish at last year’s state meet.
Ikbal, meanwhile, knew that he had to give his best effort of the season to earn an automatic berth in the state meet in the 100 freestyle.
The UIL changed the format for entry into the state meet this season, with only the regional champion in each event guaranteed a berth. The final eight berths were determined by the next eight fastest times by swimmers in all eight regionals.
Ikbal took control of his destiny, winning the 100 freestyle in a time of 47.25.
“This was my last shot at making state,” he said. “I wanted to go all for it. I think that I tried my hardest and, hopefully, I’ll do better at state.”
The news got even better last Monday for Ikbal. He was the last call-up for the state meet in the 200 freestyle (1:56.27). Ikbal broke his own team record in the process.
Ikbal placed 17th in the 200 individual medley preliminaries in last year’s state meet.
“My family wanted me to go to state and to do really well,” he said. “Seeing that I was second in the 200 IM, it wasn’t a guaranteed spot. I needed to do the best that I possibly can.”
The girls state meet is set for Feb. 20 at Bill Walker Pool and Josh Davis Natatorium in San Antonio. The boys will swim on Feb. 27. Preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. Finals start at 5 p.m.
Ikbal was the lone swimmer from The Colony to advance to state.
But, the Cougars turned in solid performances across the board in their home pool.
The boys 200 freestyle relay of Ikbal, sophomore Favrizzio Pavia Villalon, junior Maddix Pack and senior Jake Barney placed fifth. The same four swimmers placed seventh in the 200 medley relay.
Ikbal’s sister, Kierra, a sophomore, helped the Lady Cougars to earn fourth in the 400 freestyle relay and sixth in the 200 medley relay. She teamed with senior Sabrina Miller, freshman Natalia Jachim and junior Rylie Nash in the medley relay and with Jachim, Nash and sophomore Madeline Hood in the freestyle relay.
Meanwhile, the girls 200 freestyle relay of Miler, Hood, Nash and sophomore Setareh Dodangeh took 10 seconds off their previous-best time. They placed eighth.
Individually, Jachim swam to fifth place in the 200 IM, while Kierra Ikbal took sixth in the 200 freestyle and seventh in the 500 freestyle. Jachim was sixth in the 100 backstroke.
Asher Wigand, a junior, turned in the best performance for Turner, placing seventh in the 500 freestyle.