Mansfield swimming young but powerful

Posted Monday, Sep. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Mansfield’s swimming workouts may appear to be freshman orientation classes.

Of the 42 swimmers and divers, the Tigers have 20 freshmen coming in to compete and hoping to replicate last year’s district championships.

Head coach Matt Bold said the in-pool workouts began about two weeks ago. Working on technique is a critical factor with so many young swimmers, he said.

“We’ve got a giant class of young swimmers,” Bold said. “It’s a credit to a really strong middle-school program, and we do a good job of transitioning and keeping interest in the program.”

Having large numbers are beneficial, with the top swimmers scoring most of the points in meets, but the others who pick up fifth- and sixth-place points and gain experience can be the difference, Bold said.

Mansfield was senior-heavy last year. In addition to winning both boys and girls district meets, the boys were third and the girls fourth at the regional meet.

Five girls qualified for the state meet last year, and two of them return this year.

The focus is now turning to the Oct. 1 dual meet at Keller.

Some of the impact swimmers for Mansfield are senior Alli Tipton, a strong competitor in the butterfly; Mauren Paul, a sophomore in the butterfly and freestyle; and two standout freshmen – Lauren Thompson and Sara McClendon.

Thompson swims the breast and intermediate medley as well as the freestyle sprints.

“Our girls are pretty young,” Bold said. “We’re strong, though, for quite a few years and we’ll build around those girls.”

On the boys side, Bold pointed out Cameron Haggerty, a senior who “can swim about anything,” Bold said. “He can step up to that role for us.”

Mike Thibert, just a sophomore, is one of the fastest freestyle swimmers and was quite successful in his freshman year.

“We have high expectations for Mike and he should have a breakout year,” Bold said of Thibert. “He had some great swims for us last year.”

Two divers should also have great showings for Mansfield.

Sophomores Nick Miller and Kyle Engelbert are back for the Tigers and are expected to have solid performances throughout the season.

It’s just the start to a long season, Bold said.

The state meet is scheduled for late February.

“It’s really a year-round sport,” Bold said, adding that many swimmers and divers are competing during the summer for both high school and club teams.

The consistent participation is key reason Mansfield ISD programs have always been strong with both 4A and 5A teams, Bold said.

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