This weekend, the Westlake swim team will swim to earn a chance to stand.
A top-three finish earns a spot on the medal stand at the UIL Swimming State Championships this weekend at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center on the University of Texas campus, something the Chaparrals are clamoring for after a successful regional meet showing two weeks ago in Houston.
Mackenzie Franklin, Ben Ussery, Alyssa Woltemath, Zach Thomas, Audie Embestro, Nick Carlson, Wes Thomas, Taylor Flaherty, Maddy Hunt, Laurie Prinz and Margaret Beck are all heading to the state meet in either individual events, as part of a relay team, or both. Eight other Chaps that could wind up swimming at state as each team gets to list eight possible participants to pick from for each relay event in Friday’s preliminary round and Saturday’s championships.
Franklin and Wes Thomas are the lone seniors representing Westlake on each side, with Franklin swimming in four events in her final state meet, which could help her chances to medal because most swimmers go in multiple events at a regular meet.
“It’s more normal, and she can get into flow of the meet and improve,” Westlake swim coach Isaac Grombacher said. “It’s actually probably less challenging than someone going in for one or two events.”
The Chaps hope to collect as many points as possible by finishing in the top eight, with the three relay teams – boys 200 medley relay, girls 400 freestyle relay and girls 200 medley relay – able to garner double the points of individual events.
Grombacher looks at this year’s state championships as a chance to soak up the environment and push for personal bests.
“There’s not a lot of high expectations for this meet – that doesn’t mean we don’t wanna come in and swim fast,” he said, “but we’re not quite at the quality we need to be to make a run at the podium (as a team).”
There will be teams with more swimmers headed to state, such as regional foes Klein and Kingwood, but Westlake is slotted in the top six in five events heading into Friday’s first round of swimming.
“We’re looking at making the most of it for the individuals getting to swim there,” Grombacher said. “They should go fast and all swim their best times. It’s a great experience for the kids who are coming back next year. It won’t be our best performance at state ever, but it’s going to be good, solid and meaningful.”
The state championships should be eventful for the Chaps, as both the boys and girls teams for Westlake boast plenty of young talent.
“We are probably a year away from the boys challenging for a top three spot at state,” Grombacher said. “I think next year for sure is going to be really exciting for the boys.”
Friday the Class 5A events begin at 10 a.m., and on Saturday, it picks up at 9:30 a.m. at UT.
The entrants and their respective seeding for the state meet are:
Mackenzie Franklin 200 freestyle 7th
Mackenzie Franklin 100 freestyle 4th
Girls 200 medley relay 12th
Girls 400 freestyle relay 10th
Wes Thomas 200 freestyle 13th
Wes Thomas 100 breaststroke 6th
Zach Thomas 200 IM 6th
Ben Ussery 100 butterfly 5th
Boys 200 medley relay 6th
<span style=”font-family: Arial, ‘Times New Roman’, ‘Bitstream Charter’, Times, serif;color: #0000ff”><span style=”font-size: xx-small”> <span style=”font-size: x-small”><span style=”font-family: Arial”><span style=”color: #0000ff”><em>We welcome your comments on our stories but will publish only those that do not violate our commenting</em> </span></span></span><a href=”http://archive.westlakepicayune.com/comments/”><span style=”font-family: Arial;font-size: x-small”>guidelines</span></a></span></span>