A quartet of Aledo swimmers know what it’s like to swim at the Class 5A State Meet at the University of Texas at Austin’s Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center.
To get there they will have to qualify from this weekend's 5A Region II Meet which was scheduled at the Debbie Weems Natatorium in Mansfield. Should they be successful in a return trip to Austin, they'd love nothing more than to bring a few of their teammates along with them.
Well, one thing they might love more would be bringing home gold from state, but first, as aforementioned, they have to get there. The top two finishers in each championship final in each of the state's eight regions will advance to state, along with the next eight fastest swims from across the state as wild-card qualifiers, making a field of 24 in each event at state. The eight fastest times must come from the championship finals at each regional meet.
The Swimcats looking to return to state are sophomore Haley Roberson, who competed in the girls 200-yard individual medley and was on the 200 and 400 freestyle relays in 2022, senior Sam Ogden (boys 100 free, 100 back), junior Breanna Oliveri (girls 200 and 400 free relays) and sophomore Victoria Crews (girls 200 and 400 free relays).
In all, 19 Swimcats will be participating this weekend (depending on weather) with their sights set on Austin.
"We have a lot of swimmers who are returning to regionals from last year and several of them are eager to get into that A final and swim one race with a shot to go to state on the line," coach Scott Abel said.
At regionals, Roberson will compete in the 200 IM and 500 free individually after winning both in the District 5-5A Meet on Jan. 20 at the Northwest ISD Natatorium. She was also on the winning 200 medley and 200 free relays with Crews, sophomore Corah Satterfield and freshman Natalie Hutson.
Satterfield will compete in the 100 butterfly and 100 back and Hutson in the 500 free and 100 back.
In addition to winning district in both of his state events from a year ago, Ogden will also compete on the 200 medley and 200 free relays with senior Tanner Howse and juniors Porter Lane and Kyle Scharlow.
Both relays set school records en route to their runner-up finish at district. The 200 medley relay clocked a district-winning time of one minute, 43.79 seconds, breaking a record that had stood since 2009, while the 200 freestyle relay’s time of 1:36.06 broke a record from 2012.
Howse won district individually in the 200 free and 100 butterfly, while Lane qualified in the 50 free and 100 breast.
Oliveri qualified for regionals in the 50 free and 100 back, while Crews also qualified individually in the 100 fly.
Also competing this weekend for the girls will be senior Madeline Gordy, 200 IM; sophomore Avery Faulkner, 100 back, 400 free relay; sophomore Tila Moeller, 500 free, 400 free relay; freshman Alli Faulkner, 400 free relay; and freshman Julia Gordy, 100 free, 400 free relay.
Also competing for the boys will be junior Hunter Gregory 100 back, 400 free relay; sophomore Bradyn Baughman, 400 free relay; sophomore Alex Pomales, 400 free relay; freshman Brady Ludlow, 400 free relay; and freshman Addison Speed, 100 breast.
At district, the Ladycats finished second as a team and the Bearcats were third.
This will be the fourth time Aledo swimmers will hit the water in the Debbie Weems Natatorium. They competed in the Debbie Weems Invitational in early December, which was preceded by a pair of Texas Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association Meets in November.
"Coming back to a pool we are familiar with and swam really well at earlier in the year, I like the potential to have a repeat of last year where we were able to get multiple state qualifiers," Abel said. "I think we can only improve on that number from last year and the confidence of the team echoes that statement."
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