By Habeab Kurdi
Awaiting the announcement of the final results at the District 25-4A Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday afternoon in Burnet, the Lake Travis swim team lined up side-by-side on the edge of the pool.
As the words spilled into the air proclaiming Lake Travis the district champ on both the boys and girls side, Coach Darcy Smith and her squad immediately plunged into the pool below, shouting and cheering all the while.
Reid Elliot was named the District 25-4A swimmer of the year following the meet, and Smith took home boy’s coach of the year honors.
“I told the kids on Friday if we win the meet on Saturday, they could throw me in the pool,” Smith said. “We all lined up waiting, then we all jumped in the pool together, and all popped up high-fiving each other. That bus ride home was full of a lot of energy and excitement and so much fun. I’ll certainly never forget it.”
In all, 18 Cavalier swimmers are moving on to the Region 7-4A meet, which will be held Feb. 10-11 at the Josh Davis Natatorium/Blossom Athletic Center in San Antonio.
Kristina Hoffman placed second in the 1-meter dive, and the diving finals are Feb. 9 in San Antonio.
The boys team topped the standings with 146 compared to 110 for runner-up Vandegrift. On the girls side, Lake Travis just edged Cedar Park, 111-103, giving the team a total of 257 points to best second-place Vandegrift with 209 points.
“It was a nice to see people getting on the podium for the first time at district,” Smith said. “And everyone had a great meet with common goal of taking away the team title.”
Along with Elliot and Hoffman, a few other Lake Travis swimmers have a shot to make it to the state finals, including Jason Easter and Kyle Lucas.
Katie Grose should be a near lock to head to her fourth state championships after making it the past three years.
Grose took first place in the 50-yard freestyle, second in the 100 butterfly, second in the 100 freestyle, and she was part of the relay team that took second in the 200 freestyle relay.
Elliot captured first place in the 100 butterfly, first in the 100 backstroke, and he was part of the first-place 200-yard medley relay team and the 400 freestyle relay team that placed first.
Easter was first in the 200 IM and second in the 100 butterfly.
Lucas wound up taking third in the 100 freestyle, and he finished runner-up to Elliot in the 100 backstroke.
“After seeing Kyle’s performance at district, to see him and the time he was able to post at, it’s certainly promising to have a fair shot at qualifying for state,” Smith said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing his performance at regionals, fully rested, fully tapered and ready to go for it.”
Adrian Krach took third in the 50 freestyle just ahead of teammate Travis White. White also placed third in the 100 breaststroke.
“Travis had a breakthrough performance, and it’s so nice to see in that senior year, to get on that podium,” Smith said.
Reese Bishop was third in the 500 free, Ben Rodgers placed first in the 100 breaststroke, while Steven Austrian and Austin Schlageter also had solid performances at the meet.
The boys team of Krach, Stephen Wilkes, Bishop and Rodgers nabbed third in the boys 200 free relay.
“All the boys relays are strong, as long as we have safe starts we should have a clear shot to state,” Smith said.
On the girls side, Sedera Zbranak and Hannah Evans finished two-three in the 200-yard freestyle, and Zbranak was third in the 100 freestyle. Libby Linton placed third in the 50 freestyle, Megan Grose wound up second in the 100 butterfly.
The girls relay team of Evans, Linton, Zbranak and Grose was second in the 200 free relay among the top finishes for Lake Travis.
For now, the team has a little time to actually soak in the wins and recover a bit before regionals. Some swimmers rested at different times and some are still looking for a little break to get their best performances at their peak.
“We certainly put a lot of thought and effort into who should rest at different times,” Smith said.