With just a month until the District 14-5A swim meet, Legacy’s swimming and diving team will be pushing hard after the holiday break to earn significant regional qualifying spots.
The Broncos have been having a solid season thus far, including multiple top meet finishes and several individual best times.
Many of those top finishes and best times came at the Mansfield ISD Invitational meet, where the boys team finished third.
“We did extremely well and got some into the finals,” said Legacy head coach Tony Tullbane. “Some had lifetime-bests and some season-bests. It was a good meet for the boys and the girls.”
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The meet helped replicate the tough competition conditions swimmers will face at the regional and state meets, Tullbane said of the two-day format.
“It gives a better indication of showing more kids how to come back and compete on the second day of a meet. It focuses on their conditioning and they can see what they can do on the second day of a meet,” Tullbane said.
The team will soon travel to the Lubbock Invitational on Jan. 9-10.
Before they can get to the two-day regional meet, though, Legacy will have to qualify in the top six places at the district meet, hosted at the MISD complex on Jan. 25.
And the big meets are sometimes tough to train for when the UIL’s mandatory holiday break is added in.
Hoping to continue their strong performances are Broncos such as returning state champion, Hayley Yelle, who took the gold as a freshman in the 200m Free and gold in the 500m Free. She also finished seventh in the 500m event in the Junior Nationals.
Madison Koceich, also a sophomore, has stepped up, filling in for Yelle in the relay events recently when Yelle was unavailable.
On the boys side, Sam Sok has already broken the school record in the 500m Free, and teammate Jeff Jamison gives the Broncos depth. Both are sophomores.
“We are certainly young,” Tullbane said.
Although Legacy graduated some good talent last year, the depth is building.
Colin McGahey has been setting his lifetime-best times in the 200m and 500m Free. The senior is looking to “finish it right,” Tullbane said.
With that nucleus, along with the rising talent of the four divers, including Keith Petrou, the Broncos are likely the boys favorite at the district meet.
Petrou has been one of the higher scoring divers and could have a legitimate shot at a state berth.
“Having four divers is a huge advantage at every meet,” Tullbane added.
The girls will push favorite Lake Ridge in the district meet. With the new alignment, the district’s teams added an additional team with Timberview.
Tollbane didn’t think a regional championship, which will also be hosted locally, is out of the question, either. “With boys in every event and our divers, we could pull it off,” he said.
“We should have a good year,” he continued. “Now in my sixth year at Legacy, this is maybe the best, with a great group of kids with a positive attitude. It makes a huge difference.”
When the Broncos travel to Lubbock, there should be a regional-type feel to the meet, said Tullbane. “It’s great competition from a new area of the state. We’ll see some swim faster the second day then they did to qualify,” he added.
Swimming against new competition and so close to district creates added excitement for the Lubbock meet.
As the district meet looms, the team has already transitioned workouts to more speed work.
“They know what (events) they’ll swim and they can work on speed and fine-tune the speed of their event. The hardest part of the season is November, but now the kids can see the end coming,” Tullbane said.