Area swimmers will try to secure berths to the UIL state championships at regional meets this weekend at the Davis Natatorium and in Corpus Christi. A look at some of the top storylines to follow:
Can winners repeat?
A year ago, the Reagan boys and Churchill girls won the Region VII team championships in decisive manners, while Alamo Heights earned close wins to take the Region VIII crowns.
Can any of the squads duplicate last year’s feat this weekend?
Reagan topped Brandeis 397-309, relying on its depth for the win. With the likes of Cole McAnany, Alex Garriga, William Borst and Zachary Yeadon still in the fold — and if last weekend’s District 26-6A meet was any indication — the Rattlers might be even stronger than they were in 2014.
Churchill was hit hard by graduation, so look for Reagan and O’Connor to lead the charge for the team title, with Brandeis and Smithson Valley also in the mix.
Reagan, led by freshmen Hannah Feng and Nichole Donofrio and sisters Hannah and Hallie Middleton, won the 26-6A meet in commanding fashion. O’Connor, paced by Lanie McAlpin, captured the 27-6A title.
Alamo Heights won the boys and girls crowns last year over Corpus Christi Flour Bluff, 390-327 in the boys race and 385-358 in the girls competition.
The fight for the title should be close once again, with Boerne Champion — which snapped the Mules’ streaks of district titles at five on the boys’ side and seven on the girls’ side last weekend at Palo Alto College — to be the stiffest challenger.
No sophomore slump
A year ago as freshmen, Alamo Heights’ Ellery Parish, Seth Ryherd, Grace Strash and Cameron Young; Brandeis’ Nikko Bjontegard; MacArthur’s Megan Diamond; Uvalde’s Mabel Fowler; Reagan’s Yeadon; and O’Connor’s Hunter Lane made their mark with strong showings.
What can they do for an encore?
So far, the success from their first varsity season has carried over as each is among the favorites to challenge for the gold medal in their respective events and advance to the state meet Feb. 20-21 in Austin.
Ones to watch
In fields loaded with top-notch swimmers, it’s almost impossible to single out a few. But which competitors are worth the prize of admission?
On the boys side, it’s Taft’s Migs Martin and McAnany. Martin won the 100-yard breaststroke and was seventh in the 100 butterfly at the state meet as a sophomore last year, and has the area’s fastest time in both this season. McAnany was the star of the 26-6A meet, winning the 100 freestyle in 46.13 seconds, setting meet and Davis Natatorium records.
On the girls side, it’s Health Careers’ Marian Yurchishin. A senior and the 2014 Express-News Swimmer of the Year, she won the 100 breaststroke at state last year and has the area’s fastest time this year.
Article courtesy of Terrence Thomas SA Express News. Photo courtesy of SA Express News.