Swimming in the summer seems to be such a natural activity, but for competitive swimmers, it is a time to find even more time to test the waters.
At Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage, head swimming coach Daniel Jau said he sees many of his competitors using the summer break to compete with select teams.
There are at least five main area teams which will see either Mustangs or Panthers in their colors, including programs in the Mid-Cities, Arlington, Keller, Lewisville, Grapevine and the North Texas Natadores.
In Grapevine, the Gators see many of the high school swimmers joined by those in the feeder schools trying to get an edge on building their skills during the summer.
“The junior high and elementary kids are looking to develop and getting exposed to swimming,” Jau said.
That’s what it takes to build a successful high school program.
“It’s exciting to see them progress,” Jau said. “The future is really bright.”
What helps keep the outlook sunny is the fact that the previous year’s Mustangs boys team finished 18th and the girls 23rd at last year’s state UIL swimming and diving meet.
Among the returning state qualifiers are David Hallaron, who was the highest finisher, as he was seventh in the 100m Back event with a time of 53:03, and the Grapevine boys 200m Medley relay, which finished 10th. That quartet was comprised of Hallaron, Roger Meixueiro, Parker Schultz and Christian Hambrock. All but Meixuerio will return.
Also competing at the state meet were Grapevine’s Benjamin Kalmbach, 15th in the 500m Free, and the 200m Free relay (Parker Schultz, Nicholas Tsigas, Hallaron and Christian Hambrock), which finished 12th.
The Lady Mustangs’ Erin Palmer was eighth in diving, with teammate Keelie Shuck just behind in ninth.
For the Panthers, Madison Chao was ninth in the 100m Back and 16th in the 200m IM.
And although she just missed a call-up spot for the state meet, Heritage swimmer Clare Cushing should be a contender this year. Jau said Cushing just missed the state meet in the 200m Free by .01 seconds at the regional meet.
Heritage also had Bridget Pacilio finish 12th in the 200m IM.
Pacilio was one of five swimmers from Heritage or Grapevine who signed to swim in college.
Pacilio will go to Nebraska in the fall, while Lady Panthers teammate Sara Lopez will swim at Sienna College.
Wyatt Davis, a recent Heritage grad, will swim at Iowa Central with Grapevine swimmer Corey Beitler, and Andrew Jarrett will attend McMurry University in Abilene.
But for now, the summer season marks the time to get back into the pool after the season ended with almost a month off. They’ll swim through the end of July and then have a few weeks before the start of school in August.
While the swimmers compete for select teams, Jau said he feels it’s good for the athletes to work with different coaches where they can get additional individual attention from other professionals in the sport.
Regardless, the summer is crucial for continued development, Jau said, including having the time to take vacations and recharge their batteries. They will have information on what they should work on following their varsity seasons.
“Kids can get in their long-course training and they need their time off,” he said. “Kids have to enjoy the summer.”