Tigersharks go for gold; first day off to great start

Tigersharks go for gold; first day off to great start

Sophomore Zachary Baker completes a breaststroke set during a swim practice at Pinkerton Center. The team is currently in Austin competing in the state competition.

Story by Daniel Pellegrin, Staff Writer

AUSTIN–The UIL 4A Texas State Swim Meet began with the wave of the starter and the fall of a school record. The girls 200 yard medley relay, despite coming in third overall, managed to break the previous record, which has been held since 1998.

It was clear that today would be a good day for the Tigersharks. The preliminary races continued, and senior Matt Cox began his day swimming in the 200 yard Freestyle, capturing his position as third overall marching onward into tomorrow’s challenges.

The crowds of fans formed into cheering mobs, as their perspective team’s swimmers jumped off the starting blocks. The Tigershark fans were carefully observing, taking down times, and checking school records.

The engrossed expressions on the crowds’ faces grew more apparent as senior Chelsea Albright came within one second of breaking the 200 Individual Medley record.

“I just started swimming the 200 IM about a month ago, and I can’t figure out where I am supposed to take off that last second,” Chelsea said. “Today, my problem was that I took out the 200 way too fast. My goal tomorrow is to take the race out slower and have more energy for my breaststroke. I really want to end the season with a school record tomorrow.”

The action moved to the diving portion, located at the opposite side of the pool, as junior Ann Marie Hilborn was perched to take her spot in tomorrow’s final competition. Her dives brought her to the 12th position heading into the second day of the state meet.

With a short intermission the meet moved to the men’s 100 yard butterfly. With senior Matt Cox as the favorite in the lineup, he was able to pull through, placing first and heading into finals again as the favorite for the state champion.

Senior Elizabeth Cook began her marathon of events with the 200 Yard Medley Relay which broke the school record. She continued into the 100 yard Freestyle, where she placed 14th overall. She then advanced to the 100 yard Backstroke, taking her place as fourth overall going into finals, and finally racing the last leg of the 100 yard Freestyle Relay, which took 8th overall heading forward into state.

“I’ve never swum more than three events at state, so adding in the 100 Freestyle has made things a little more stressful,” Cook said. “I’m really happy to be swimming so much for the team, though. While I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped in the 100 Free, I’m excited to get back up and swim again tomorrow.”

The two boys’ relays began with the team of Cox, senior Travis Whitfield, sophomore Zac Baker, and junior Nick Sehy, which swam a combined time of 1:29.73, giving them 10th place. The second boys’ relay team of Cox, Sehy, Whitfield, and senior Erubiel Basurto-Ruiz also placed 10th, but senior Matt Cox with his individual lead-off time of 46.63, broke the school record previously set by Coy Brant in the 100 freestyle.

“Getting the record was such a relief. I never thought I’d be able to break one of Coy Bryant’s records,” Matt said. “Breaking that record just secured another spot on the record board, and I couldn’t be happier.”

The final girls relay event, the 400 free relay, with the team of Albright, junior Amy McCoy, sophomore Ashton Stafford, and Cook, were able to secure their rightful position among the top eight and still remain in the running for victory in the finals tomorrow.

Sophomore Madeleine Pellegrin was set today on breaking the school record for the 100 Breaststroke, set in 2009. While coming in 11th overall; she came within less than a second from achieving the 1:07.95 time which would allow her to take her place on the school’s record board.

“I really want that record. I’m 0.9 seconds away and think if I really push myself and think about what I want while I’m swimming I can probably get it,” Pellegrin said. “But if I don’t get it there’s still two more years. I’ve gone my fastest time and was a part of the record-setting Medley Relay so I won’t be completely disappointed.”

Senior Collin Hall has also set on this week to have the fastest breaststroke swim for THS, his goal being to break the the men’s record in the 100 yard breaststroke. While nearly breaking his own personal best today, Hall missed the record, and has given his final hopes at taking his place on the record board to tomorrow’s race.

While two records have given way to the Tigersharks’ state swims, the anticipation for more to fall is high as they move to the final contest of the year. For the seniors, the final stage has been set, and the rest of the team’s hopes and goals of this year will all culminate into tomorrow’s contest.

This will truly be glory’s last shot.

“Anytime you have a great prelims, it builds confidence for next day. Girls medley relay set the tone for things, Matt’s swims and the relays in general were all good,” Head Coach Carl Auel said. “It builds confidence knowing that you’re rested and swimming fast.”