The student news site of Allen High School.

The Eagle Angle

The student news site of Allen High School.

The Eagle Angle

The student news site of Allen High School.

The Eagle Angle

Swimmers Made Waves at State

Sophomore Katelynn Zhou preparing herself before swimming the 400 meter freestyle relay.

Allen high school’s swimming and diving team was ready to make waves at the UIL 6A State championship at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas.

Sophomore Katelynn Zhou, junior Janelle Zhou, senior Sophia Ware, senior Isabelle Thibodeau, senior Livi Chen, senior Lia Ross and junior Nathan Jacobbe were the athletes who competed at the highest level of high school swimming.

“It’s a two day competition, two sessions,” Ware said. “One’s on Friday and the other on Saturday. On Friday, it’s called prelims, you compete to make it to Saturday. Saturday is the top 16 swimmers from each event.”

There were 24 events that the athletes could have competed in. Those events include the 200 meter medley relay, 200 freestyle, 200 IM, 50 free, one meter diving, 100 butterfly, 100 free, 500 free relay, 200 free relay, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, and 400 free relay.

There are eight individual events and three relays for swimming, starting with the 200 medley relay and ending the meet with the 400 freestyle relay,” Chen said. “Each athlete can only swim four events max [either two individuals and two relays or one individual and three relays]. Our coach typically chooses our events for us though.”

The swimming competition is divided into A final and B final. Swimmers who placed top eight go onto the A final event, and the swimmers who placed ninth-16th make it to the B final events.

“The relays were really fun, it’s going to be the last time that I’m swimming with the seniors on my team so it was exciting,” Katelynn said. “My 100 free was okay, I was in B final, for my 2 IM it was really good, I made A final. And in the finals I podiumed and got second.”

Not every swimmer is eligible to compete in the state tournament. There are certain requirements that the swimmers need to meet to qualify for the tournament.

“We either had to be top two in our region for our events, or be ‘called up’ into the meet by being the next fastest eight in the state [not counting the fastest two in each region],” Chen said.

Janelle shares what it was like for her to compete in the relay race.

“I’m the lead off leg, so I swim the very first part of the relay,” Janelle said. “We swim it almost like a race. Because the first person starts the race like it was [an] individual, and then everyone takes on from there. So the only thing going through my head was to do my best for my team and for my seniors just because it was the last time that I got to swim with them.”

The moments before a big race or competition are crucial, and they can depict how your outcome may turn out.

“Before my race, I tried to focus on one thing in order to make sure I’m not too overwhelmed,” Ware said. “Sometimes I’d focus on my underwater, or what stroke I’m doing. Sometimes I’ll play music before to help me.”

Katelynn also adds onto what went through her mind while at state.

“I was really excited,” Katelynn said. “The atmosphere at state is a lot more electric than a lot of the other meets that we have. Because there’s a lot of people, and the competition is really intense. You might psych yourself out before the race and I try my best to not have a super strict schedule.”

Janelle placed fifth for the 200 medley. Ware placed seventh for the 100 fly, 13th for backstroke, sixth place for free relay, and fifth for the medley. Chen placed 5th for medley, eighth for 50 freestyle, and sixth for 400 freestyle. Jacobbe placed 15th in both 200 IM and freestyle 15th. Ross placed 18th for the one meter diving. Thibodeau placed sixth for the 400 free. Katelynn placed fifth for the 200 medley, second for 200 IM, 10th for freestyle, and sixth for the medley.

“I was hoping for a medal in either of the relays, but I think overall [the swimming team] come a long way since my sophomore year,” Ware said. “In the first year I went to state, I think we placed 11th that year compared to sixth. We have improved a lot.”

Sophia Ware shares her experience as she evolved as an athlete through her years of swimming.

“Not only have I improved in times of my events, but how I prepare for races, how we handle the competition,” Ware said. “Because the state is a big competition, it’s very overwhelming mentally. My sophomore year I was very scared to compete, but this year I was more confident and relaxed.”

Swimming is a lot harder than it seems according to the student athletes.

“I think there’s two things that I would consider the hardest,” Janelle said. “Physically, how much time you’re putting into it [the sport], a lot of other sports I know don’t do every day [practices], it’s not an all year round sport. Swimming especially for us, even outside of high school with clubs is an all year sport. You’re always swimming, two practices a day. Mentally, just trusting in yourself can be really hard. Especially when you know you’re going to fail so many times until you’re going to have a bit of success.”

With the school year almost being at the end, the swim team is going to go through a lot of change as the seniors graduate. 

“Our team is going to change a lot, because we have a lot of seniors this year,” Katelynn said. “I plan to be the upperclassmen in the relay this time instead of the lowerclassmen. I think I’m going to try my best to guide the lowerclassmen.”

One of the seniors on the team, Sophia Ware got an academic scholarship to Pepperdine University and will be swimming there.

“Keep a good attitude going into it,” Ware said. “Try not to be too nervous, try to anchor yourself with your teammates and their support. Trust your training and the process that you’ve gone through the whole year.”

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About the Contributor
Yuliya Eruslanova
Yuliya Eruslanova, Managing & Design Editor
"This is my fifth year doing journalism and third year on the Eagle Angle staff. I love the gym and aspire to become a real estate agent."

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