State swimming preview: 5 things to watch in Austin
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.
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.
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.