Five Highland Lakes swimmers and divers are off to the Class 5A state meet after strong showings at the regional contest January 31-February 1.
Burnet High School divers sophomore Zoe Nicholl and senior Tristan Smith landed automatic spots in the February 14-15 state meet after each finished second in their events at regionals. The second-year swim program at Marble Falls is sending three student-athletes to state.
Marble Falls High School junior Landry Stewart is swimming in the 500-yard freestyle, while teammate Taylor Ashbaugh, a sophomore, is competing in the 100-yard breaststroke. On the Marble Falls boys side, sophomore Viktor Lamberg will represent the purple and gold at the state meet in the 100-yard breaststroke.
The University Interscholastic League state diving preliminaries are at 10 a.m. Friday, February 14, at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, 1900 Red River St. in Austin.
Burnet’s Nicholl earned a 289.35 score in the girls’ one-meter diving at the regional meet to return to the state meet. Teammate Smith, a senior, earned 334.60 points in the boys’ one-meter dive to advance to state. This will be his first state appearance.
Even more impressive is Smith is new to diving, said Burnet High School swimming and diving coach Stephanie Pegues, who was named the boys and girls diving coach of the year at the regional meet.
“This is Zoe’s second year diving, and she has grown immensely since last year,” the coach said. “Tristan is truly outstanding, coming in as a senior with no prior experience and then finishing second in the region. He works so hard every day to be better mentally and physically, and it shows.”
Pegues noted that the divers learned at least 11 dives in five different categories and performed them as flawlessly as possible with no do-overs.
Swimming and diving in the state of Texas isn’t for the faint of heart, the coach said. While divers spend hours perfecting each dive, spectators only see the beauty and how the athletes make each attempt look effortless.
“I do think sometimes the fans forget how challenging and technical diving can be,” Pegues said. “They are easily distracted and excited by how smooth or effortlessly they perform their dives and/or tricks.”
Nicholl and Smith are workhorses, Pegues said, which was evident throughout the diving competition.
“Their grit and determination to get better and learn more difficult and challenging dives is seen every day at every practice and every meet,” she said. “They are great teammates, very coachable, and are outstanding in and out of the classroom.”
On the Marble Falls side, Stewart captured a bronze medal the 500-yard freestyle, finishing in 5:09.41, while Ashbaugh was fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:07.53. Lamberg finished fifth in the boys’ 200-yard medley in 1:58.81 and sixth in the 100-yard backstroke in 54.99 seconds.
While the Marble Falls swimmers didn’t land in the top two spots at the regional meet in their respective events to earn an automatic qualification, the UIL extends “call-ups” to the swimmers with the next best eight times in each event.
In only its second year in existence, the Marble Falls swim program is sending three student-athletes to the state meet. Stewart and Ashbaugh were members of last year’s inaugural squad.
For those attending the state UIL swimming and diving meet, tickets per session are $7 for students and $12 for adults. An all-meet pass is $30. Meet officials clear the stands after each 5A session on both Friday and Saturday.
200-yard individual medley (A final) – 5, Viktor Lamberg (Marble Falls), 1:58.81; 100-yard backstroke (A final) – 6, Viktor Lamber (Marble Falls), 54.99; 50-yard freestyle (B final) – 11, Maczimus Griego (Burnet), 23.10 (new personal record); 100-yard butterfly (B final) – 11, Maczimus Griego (Burnet), 56.65 (new personal record); 200-yard freestyle relay (A final) – 8, Burnet (Griego, Horan, Behrens, Messer), 1:36.28 (new personal record); 200-yard medley (B final) – 11, Burnet (Brown, McBurnett, Horan, Bennet), 1:52.23; 400-yard freestyle (B final) – 9, Burnet (Griego, Horan, Behrens, Messer), 3:31.10 (new personal record); one-meter diving – 2, Tristan Smith (Burnet), 334.60.
PRELIMINARIES: 200-yard freestyle – 17, Hayden Brown (Burnet), 2:00.06; 100-yard freestyle – 20, Jordan Messer (Burnet), 53.61; 500-yard freestyle – 20, Ryan Behrans (Burnet), 5:46.89; 100-yard backstroke – 22, Hayden Brown (Burnet), 1:05.11; 100-yard breaststroke – 22, Jordan Messer (Burnet), 1:10.07.
500-yard freestyle (A final) – 3, Landry Stewart (Marble Falls), 5:09.41; 100-yard breaststroke (A final) – 5, Taylor Ashbaugh (Marble Falls), 1:07.53; 200-yard individual medley (B final) – 9, Landry Stewart (Marble Falls), 2:10.03; 200-yard medley (B final) – 12, Marble Falls (Stewart, Ashbaugh, Nickes, Houck), 2:02.87, 16, Burnet (La Joie, McCrory, Kirby, Billock), 2:09.43; 200-yard freestyle relay (B final) – 12, Marble Falls (Ashbaugh, Houck, Nickes, Stewart), 1:50.62, 16, Burnet (La Joie, Billock, Huston, McCrory), 1:55.89; 400-yard freestyle relay (B final) – 14, Burnet (La Joie, Huston, Kirby, McCrory), 4:16.77; one-meter diving – 2, Zoe Nicholl (Burnet), 289.35.
PRELIMINARIES: 50-yard freestyle – 20, Avery McCrory (Burnet), 28.21.