By Steve Habel
Five Westlake swimmers captured individual crowns and both the Chaparrals’ boys and girls squads rolled to team titles at the District 15-5A swimming championships, held Friday and Saturday at the Jamail Swim Center on the campus of the University of Texas.
The Chaps’ boys amassed 166 points in beating Bowie (109), Anderson (94), Lake Travis (68) and Austin High (44). Westlake’s girls scored 162 points and were better that Lake Travis (114), Anderson (87), Bowie (85) and Austin High (49).
Individual district champions for Westlake were Wes Thomas (boys 200-yard freestyle), Ben Ussery (boys 100 butterfly), Audie Embestro (100 backstroke), Mina Glenesk (girls 500 freestyle) and Laurie Prinz (girls 100 breaststroke).
The top six finishers in Saturday’s final events earned berths in the Region II Class 5A meet, which will be contested Feb. 8 and 9 at the University of Houston’s Wellness and Recreation Center. Because there were just five teams competing in the relay events, all advanced to the regionals.
“We are happy that we came in here and took care of the things we needed to and won the district,” Westlake swimming coach Issac Grombacher said. “A big thing for us was to get all our relays to regionals because there have been times when we lost focus and false-started and got disqualified.”
The Chaps’ Wes Thomas ruled the pool in the boys’ 200 freestyle, rolling to a time of 1 minute, 45.93 seconds in the winning the event and beating teammate and runner-up John David Doyle by almost four and a half seconds. An hour later, Westlake’s Ussery outraced the nearest competition by nearly three body lengths in winning the 100 butterfly in a time of 52.01.
Then, Westlake’s Embestro was first to the wall in the 100 boys backstroke, earning the district title via a 53.74 clocking in the event.
The Chaps almost won a sixth individual title, but Zach Thomas was out-touched by Anderson’s Young Jae Hur and finished second in the 100 breaststroke. Hur’s time of 58.95 was .01 ahead of Thomas at the wall. Zach Thomas also finished second in the 200 individual medley.
In the girls’ competition, the Chaps’ Glenesk outlasted Bowie’s Madison Martell by .13 of a second in the 500 freestyle, garnering a 15-5A championship in the day’s most thrilling girls’ race. The results in the finals were a reverse of the outcome from Friday’s preliminaries, when Martell beat Glenesk by .28 of a second to grab the competition’s top seed.
Then,Westlake’s Prinz splashed her way to the title in the 100 breaststroke, stopping the clock at 1:08.30, 2.33 seconds ahead of teammate Anne Shedlosky, who also earned a berth in the regional meet.
Other regional qualifiers for the Westlake girls’ team were Prinz (second) in the 200 IM; Mackenzie Franklin (second) and Glenesk (third) in the 200 freestyle; Taylor Flaherty (second), Bayley Wiltshire (fifth) and Alec Marshman (sixth) in the 50-yard freestyle; Magda Contreras (third) in the 100 butterfly; Franklin (second), Alyssa Woltemath (third) and Maddie Hunt (sixth) in the 100 freestyle; Contreras (sixth) in the 500 freestyle; Woltemath (second) and Maddy Hunt (fourth) in the 100 backstroke; and Asai Meyer (sixth) in the 100 breaststroke.
Boys swimmers to advance to the regional meet for Westlake were Embestro (third) and Hayden Southworth (fifth) in the 200 IM; Ussery (third), Nick Carlson (fourth) and JC Engle (sixth) in the 50 freestyle; Southworth (second) and Andre Newlands (fourth) in the 100 butterfly; Carlson (fourth), Kyle Lucas (fifth) and Engle (sixth) in the 100 freestyle; Doyle (third) in the 500 freestyle; and Wes Thomas (third) and Brock Jones (sixth) in the 100 breaststroke.
Westlake (Woltemath, Prinz, Margret Beck and Franklin) captured the girls’ 200 medley relay in a time of 1:53.44, beating runner up Lake Travis (1:56.06). The boys (Embestro, Thomas, Essery and Engle) also won the event, posting a time of 1:38.57, far ahead of runner-up Bowie (1:40.28).
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