For Jonathan Roberts, the UIL state swim meet is getting to be old hat. The Southlake Carroll senior has qualified for the state meet all four years of high school and medaled six times.
He has been a part of three consecutive state championship teams and hopes to add one more this weekend at the State Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday and Saturday at the Texas Swim Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
“This season has gone very well,” Roberts said. “I feel like our team has really good chemistry. The past three years, we’ve had some really good teams, but the thing about this year is we are all a lot closer. That is something that has helped us this season, because we lost a lot of talent last year.”
The California native said he had two objectives coming into the season, which did not initially include claiming Carroll’s fifth consecutive state title.
“My first goal this year was to be the best captain I could be,” Roberts said. “All of the years leading up to this season, I’ve had a lot of good captains, and I just wanted to keep that legacy going and protect that tradition. I want the younger swimmers to know that I care about their success as much as they do and as much as I care about my own success.
“Another definite goal of mine was to come in and get more best times this year and really press with some of my events. My favorite event is the 500 free, and I have yet to get a best time in that this year, so that leaves it up to the state meet.”
Roberts, who is headed to UT in the fall on a swimming scholarship, will compete in the 500-yard freestyle, 100 backstroke, 200 medley relay, and 400 freestyle relay this weekend. He’s the top seed in both individual events, but he said his No. 1 goal is to win the team title.
“That is what would mean the most,” said Roberts, who won gold last year in the 200 and 500 freestyles. “I would also like to help our relays win state. If I can win two individual gold medals, that would be icing on the cake.”
Coach Kevin Murphy said Roberts has meant a great deal to the Carroll program over the past four years and he will be missed next year.
“He’s real coachable,” Murphy said. “He is real steady and cooperative. You ask him for certain things, and he will give you everything he’s got. I think the biggest thing that defines Jonathan, and this goes for the rest of our program as well, is that he competes for the team, where the team needs him to swim.
“He strives to do things for the team that puts all of us in position to do well. If the individuals are getting some power from their teammates, then when they do well, the teammates get to share in that.”
Other swimmers to watch
Laura Norman, Keller
Events: 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke, 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay
Notable: The senior is the defending state champion in both individual events and will be the favorite again. Her older sister, Katey, competed for Keller and swims at the University of Texas. Norman is headed to Texas A&M on a swimming scholarship in the fall. She was the girls Swimmer of the Meet at regionals.
Quotable: “I feel like Laura is sitting in a great position to repeat her double-gold finish she had last year. I think she stands to pick up even more medals with both the relay teams she is on, because they are also in contention.” — coach Linda Shults
Keller Central relay
Event: 200 medley relay
Notable: Seniors Georgia Brown, Madison Straight, Lauren Williams and junior Kayla Epting were sixth at the state meet last year and have the fastest qualifying time this year by more than a second and half.
Quotable: “These girls have been overlooked and underestimated all year, and they have used it as motivation for what looks to be a great state meet for our team.” — coach Ann Tracewell-Wang
Fort Worth Paschal
Events: 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke
Notable: The senior is the defending state champion in the 100 butterfly and looks to make it two in a row this year. She will also look to bring home hardware in the 100 backstroke. She is a Superintendent Scholar, Academic All-State and Academic All-American.
Quotable: “Summer is excited with her opportunity to compete in two events this year. As her father and coach, I like her chances for returning to the medal stand.” — coach Marshall Campbell
Keller Fossil Ridge
Events: 50 freestyle, 500 freestyle
Notable: The freshman could walk away with two medals in her first trip to the state meet. The 14-year-old is the top seed in the 500 free and second seed in the 50 free. She is the school’s lone representative at the state meet.
Quotable: “She has worked incredibly hard this season and is a very talented young lady. She is expected to do very well this weekend at state, she swam incredibly well at district and regionals, and I would expect to see her best swims yet in Austin.” — coach Michael Beaver
Trophy Club Nelson
Events: 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle
Notable: The sophomore was selected as the Male Swimmer of the Meet at the Class 4A Region II meet, with victories in both events. He was part of two championship relays (200 free and 400 free). The 6-foot-5 Koster split time between swimming and basketball last season. He is focused solely on swimming this year.
Quotable: “Being on the podium has been a goal this year and it appears to be within his reach.” — coach Steve Melbourn
Events: 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle
Notable: The sophomore is on the cusp of being in medal contention as he heads into the state meet. He is seeded fourth in both the 100 and 200 free races. Thibert won his first state title at age 5 in the 25 breaststroke. He will make his first trip to the UIL state meet where coach Matt Bold said Thibert hopes to finish top three in each event and win Mansfield’s first state swimming medal.
Luke Mankus, Keller
Events: 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly
Notable: The junior won a regional championship in both events two weeks ago and broke the pool record in both events. His older siblings, Christine and Nick, swam for the Indians.
Quotable: “He is swimming very well and has put himself in a good position to medal.” — coach Linda Shults
Event: 1-meter diving
Notable: The sophomore missed qualifying for last year’s state meet by one point and is determined to be on the medal stand this season.
Quotable: “He thinks he can finish in the top three. He’s got as good a chance of being a medalist as anybody else in the competition.” — coach Kevin Murphy