The Grapevine swim and dive team had a strong showing at this year’s district meet, sweeping district championships on both the boys and girls sides.
Coach Daniel Jau, who also coaches Colleyville Heritage, said that he was extremely pleased with the way his teams competed at district.
“We had an outstanding meet, even though were not rested for district championships,” Jau said. “The Grapevine boys and Grapevine girls won the District 11-5A championship. Since I came here in 2008, Grapevine boys and girls swim and dive teams have won a total of 11 district championships. David Hallaron was named the District 11-5A Swimmer of the Year and Erin Palmer was named the District 11-5A Diver of the Year. The Grapevine boys won the majority of the events at the meet.”
Jau said that the Colleyville Heritage teams had a good showing at district, as well, and accomplished a lot in spite of a lack of experience on the girls side in particular.
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“The Colleyville boys placed second at district while the girls placed fifth,” Jau said. “The boys team is led by Ryan McManus, John Eric Rios and Kevin Doody. Kevin Doody won the District 11-5A Diver of the Year. John Eric Rios won the 100 yard breaststroke by a wide margin.
“The girls team is a very young group. They are led by an outstanding freshman, Claire Burtzlaff, who won the 100 yard backstroke.”
One athlete who demonstrated true perseverance at the meet was Samantha Tatum, who was injured but still qualified for the regional competition.
“Samantha Tatum is dual-sport athlete,” Jau said. “She is the starting point guard for the Grapevine [girls basketball] team and has been swimming in meets throughout the year. Her basketball season ended prematurely when she broke her wrist in a game over the holidays. Even though she is wearing a cast at championships, she is one of the best swimmers in the region.
“She is an amazing athlete to coach. She did not let her injury bring her down. She has brought our swim teams’ energy up many levels.”
Tatum said it was not easy preparing herself to compete at district, but added that she was determined to give it her best shot.
“I was a little nervous for the district meet, just because it was my first meet swimming with a cast,” Tatum said. “That week prior I was able to practice with the cast on to kind of get used to it. My 100 freestyle individual was the one I was most nervous for, considering I was seeded to get first, but now I had a cast, and I wasn’t sure how much time I would gain.
“I lost the race in the last 10 yards and that was really defeating, but my teammates and coaches helped to lift my spirit and keep me positive.”
The regional meet was held last weekend.