State Swimming

State swimming preview: 5 things to watch in Austin

Clayton Bobo has one final meet left to cement his outstanding high school career. vype.com

Originally appeared on Vype.com

The 2018 UIL State Swimming and Diving State Championships will take center stage this weekend in Austin.

This event officially kicks off the spring sports championships season with wrestling, basketball, tennis, golf, track and field, baseball and softball to follow.

But for now lets take a dive into what you should be watching for this weekend in the pool at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center at the University of Texas.

 Bobo Swimming for Gold Again

Future Texas A&M swimmer Clayton Bobo has one final meet left to cement what has already been an outstanding high school career.

The Stratford senior will try and take gold again in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle. Last season, Bobo’s gold-medal time in the 50 was 19.95 and in the 100 he posted a 43.56.

Heading back to Austin, Bobo qualified with a time of 20.47 in the 50-yard freestyle – the fastest in the state – and a 44.64 in the 100-yard freestyle. Bobo will have some competition in the 100-yard freestyle as Katy’s Kaloyan Bratanov posted a qualifying time of 44.67, just three-hundredths of a second off Bobo’s time.

Entering this season Bobo was ranked as the 20th best swimming prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by Swim Swam.

 FULL HEAT SHEETS FOR CLASS 6A

Nordmann to defend title, record at State

The Woodlands’ Lucie Nordmann wasn’t just fast in 2017, she was record-breaking, gold-medal winning fast.

Nordmann, a commit to Stanford, returns to Austin to defend her state championship in the 100-yard backstroke and also her state record time. Nordmann set the new state record last year posting a time of 52.48.

In December, Nordmann posted a time of 52.16 in the 100-yard backstroke at the Speedo Winter Junior National Championships-West.

To defend her UIL State Championship, Nordmann will once again be pushed by Cinco Ranch’s Aria Bernal. Last season Bernal finished 1.09 seconds off of Nordmann’s state-record pace. Heading into this state meet though, Bernal did post a faster qualifying time at 52.76. Nordmann qualified with a time of 53.99.

Nordmann is also competing in the 200-yard freestyle. She will have to post a better time at state to get to the top of the podium after qualifying with a time of 1:48.71, which is the third-best qualifying time in Texas. Austin Anderson’s Ella Collins owns the fasted qualifying time at 1:46.83, followed by Austin Westlake’s Dakota Luther at 1:46.84.

Montgomery’s Luke Stuart back and better than ever

Luke Stuart didn’t finish on the podium last year, rather far from it but there’s nothing better in sports than a comeback story.

Stuart entering this year in the two events he finished ninth place in a year ago, posted blazing qualifying times.

In the 500-yard freestyle, Stuart posted a time of 4:28.67, which is the second-fastest in the state. In the 200-yard freestyle, Stuart once again had the second-best time with a 1:38.60.

Compared to his state finals times from a year ago, Stuart has managed to shave roughly two whole seconds off each, making him a sure-fire contender for the podium.

FULL HEAT SHEET FOR CLASS 5A

Blazing Fast Relay Teams

Take your fastest swimmers and put them on a relay team, now these are fun to watch and Houston has a few to be on the look for, especially from The Woodlands.

In Class 6A, defending state champion The Woodlands and Ridge Point girls will duke it out in the 200-yard medley relay. The Woodlands holds the state’s fastest qualifying time at 1:44.33. Ridge Point is just 0.56 seconds slower.

The Woodlands boys will be the ones to beat in the 200-yard medley relay after qualifying with a time of 1:32.49. Last year, this group took fourth in this event. Look for them to swim for redemption in 2018.

The Woodlands girls 200-yard freestyle relay will contend again after taking third place last season. The group qualified with a time of 1:35.24, which is just eight hundredths of a second faster than Austin Westlake. Those two teams are the only ones to post a sub 1:36 time in qualifying.

In the 200-yard freestyle relay, The Woodlands and Stratford boys will duke it out. The Highlanders come in with a top qualifying time of 1:24.55, while Stratford is right behind at 1:24.64.

In the girls 400-yard freestyle relay, The Woodlands qualified with a time of 3:25.30, which is three seconds faster than the next time of 3:28.18, posted by Kingwood.

Finally, in the boys 400-yard freestyle relay, The Woodlands and Klein Oak are only separated by three-tenths of a second. The Panthers posted a qualifying time of 3:04.61, while the Highlanders had a time of 3:04.92. These two will battle it out for a spot on the podium and try to take down Southlake Carroll (3:04.16).

Divers to Watch

Samantha Vear, a sophomore at Oak Ridge, will be one of the top divers to watch in the girls one-meter dive. Vear enters with a qualifying total of 507.10. Her biggest competition will come from Southlake Carroll’s Hailey Hernandez (517.95) and defending state champion Bridget O’Neil (544.05).

In the boy’s 100-meter diving competition, La Porte’s CJ Zerbe enters with the state’s second-highest qualifying total at 483.55. He will have to beat Lewisville Marcus’ Tyson Stacey, who qualified with a 487.45. The Woodlands’ Skip Donald could make some noise for a medal as his qualifying total was 481.45.

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Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans started fast but faltered late as the New York Jets hand Houston their ninth loss of the season 21-14. Here are 11 observations from the game.

1. Starting safety Justin Reid was benched for the game. David Culley said after the game it was his decision as head coach and he would keep the matter internal with Reid.

2. This is the third defender benched for disciplinary reasons this season. Reid joins Zach Cunningham and Desmond King as players who missed time for discipline.

3. Justin Reid told Fox 26 he was benched because he had a disagreement with the coaching staff. He also said he was shocked the Texans benched him. You have to wonder if the “culture” the team is building is right when one of the more likable and personable players falls victim to their rules. Reid, who is a free agent this offseason, could leave the Texans.

4. Tyrod Taylor had a couple of nice plays early on for the Texans. His willingness to take some shots downfield was refreshing and led to a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

5. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan found the end zone. He has played well in recent weeks after finally getting on the field. Jordan is playing over Jordan Akins as Akins was a healthy scratch again this week.

6. Tytus Howard started at left tackle with mixed results. Howard has struggled to find his way at guard but could be a long-term option at tackle if given the chance.

7. The offensive line overall played poorly after some early success. The pass rush of the Jets got going and the run blocking was poor again. Lane Taylor played at left guard some, with Max Scharping also playing some at that spot.

8. The offense was horrendous after the two scoring drives. The Texans amassed 202 net yards with 91 yards coming on those two scoring drives. Houston gained just 49 net yards after their opening three drives.

9. After the game, I asked David Culley if he would be making a change with his play-caller. Culley stood behind offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and said he would remain the team’s play-caller.

10. Second-year defensive lineman Ross Blacklock had two horrible errors that handed the Jets a chance to turn three points into seven points. Blacklock got a personal foul on a field goal attempt giving the Jets a first down. The very next play his offsides penalty erased a sack. Each week Blacklock falls even more behind a bevy of players drafted after him who contribute positively on a regular basis.

11. The loss to another bottom-dweller has the Texans back in the second spot in the 2022 NFL Draft order. It also feels like the deflating nature of this loss erased some of the good feelings after the victory over the Titans. The Indianapolis Colts come to Houston next week to begin December’s portion of the schedule.

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