Mansfield’s boys and girls swim teams each swam to district titles in District 8-6A last week at the Mansfield ISD Natatorium, while Lake Ridge’s girls and Legacy’s boys also snared team championships in District 8-5A.
More importantly for the teams – as well as for swimmers from Timberview and Summit – the top six finishers in each event will now move on to the regional meets on Feb. 6-7.
Mansfield was aided by the stellar performances by numerous underclassmen. Mansfield head coach Matthew Bold said many of the unexpected points garnered by the Tigers were from freshmen.
“That’s what stood out to me,” Bold said. “The last two meets the underclassmen swam really well.”
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The Tigers qualified entries in every event for the regional meet, which will be held in Lewisville for the 6A team. The regional will be one of the top two toughest regionals with quality teams running deep, Bold said. Included in the regional along with the Tigers will be the Keller, Lewisville and Arlington schools.
Another area where Mansfield picked up key points was in diving, where boys Nick Miller and Antti Ijas were the lone competitors.
“They still achieved All-American scores,” Bold said, “and hopefully the two will go on to state.”
At the each of the eight regional meets, the winner of each of the 12 events will earn a state berth, with the next eight fastest times from across all regionals also qualifying.
Bold emphasized the competitive nature of their regional by saying that a fourth-place finisher at Lewisville last year for Mansfield ended up as a state qualifier.
“That speaks to the speed of the regional,” he said.
Bold said the Tigers and Lady Tigers are looking for a top three finish this year at the state meet and there’s a legitimate shot for them to do it. Paschal was a distant second to Mansfield in each division.
In the 8-5A meet, Legacy’s boys had more than a 100-point lead over second place Lake Ridge (199-96). Summit was third with 48 and Timberview was fourth with 45 points.
On the girls side, Lake Ridge had 158.5 to Legacy’s 122. Again, Summit was third with 66 and Timberview was fifth with 49.5.
Legacy head coach Tony Tullbane said that 23 individuals qualified for the regional meet in the 24 event (both boys and girls).
“It’s the most we’ve taken across the board,” Tullbane said. “As a whole team, there were only five kids that didn’t qualify.”
Legacy’s boys have some of the top times across all regional qualifiers and the girls have put themselves in good position too, Tullbane said.
“The boys are in a good spot to win it,” Tullbane said of the regionals. “Everything came together. Now we just have to show up and swim hard.”
“There were a lot of first-year swimmers to get out of our district,” he added.
Lake Ridge’s head coach Blake Kahla said his squad swam about as expected.
“We were real excited when we took the second, third and fourth place spots in the girls 500m free,” Kahla said.
“Most races went as expected and our hope was to get two or three girls out and advance to regionals. And most races, we did. They surpassed that expectation and hope,” Kahla said.
The Lady Eagles have qualifiers in every event, while the Lake Ridge boys had only one event without a regional qualifier. All three girls relays were won by Lake Ridge.
Like Mansfield and Legacy, Lake Ridge was also stacked with freshmen.
“We were about half-and-half of freshmen and returning regional qualifiers,” Kahla said.
Of the three first place relays, Kahla said the quartets were comprised of two juniors and four freshmen.
Lake Ridge, in just their third year of existence, is looking to qualify more swimmers for the state meet. They sent two in their first year but were shut out of state qualifiers last year.
For Lake Ridge, one of the goals at the first of the year was to qualify at least one relay team for state. So far, two of the relays are within some of the fastest in the region, Kahla said.
“It’s going to be close but the girls are excited to see what they can do,” he said.
At the 5A regional at the MISD Natatorium, Grapevine’s boys are expected to do well, as are the girls from Granbury and Aledo.