One of the most successful swim seasons in Waxahachie High School history came to a weird ending earlier this week in the Region IV swim meet.
While several swimmers recorded top performances and top-eight finishes, the bad weather that pushed the meet back two days affected the team.
“Being out of school for a week seemed to really affect us during the prelims of the regional meet,” Waxahachie head coach Tamara Pruitt said. “Even though we had been fortunate to be able to swim a few times at SAGU, I really feel being off our normal schedule caused us some issues that we hadn’t encountered all season. Events one and two are the medley relays and we had been very strong all season in both the girls and the boys relays. While the boys were swimming I noticed the official raise his hand, which signifies a disqualification, but couldn’t imagine what they had done wrong. When I went over to ask, the official told me he had a DQ for our girls relay also. It was not how we had planned on starting our meet and things seemed to spiral after that.”
Waxahachie faced several disqualifications in the prelims in events it had hoped to place high, which is something that did not happen during the district meet or the regular season.
“Nancy Price was seeded eighth going into the 500 and had a very good chance of finishing up a place or two in the event finals. During her race, the plastic counter given to us to use was broken and our swimmer using it got confused and Nancy stopped swimming after 450 thinking she was through. She was DQ’d for not finishing the race,” Pruitt said.
“Another swimmer was waiting on her event and someone stepped up and swam in her spot. Nothing was said at the time, so she was DQ’d for missing her race. These are not things we usually do. We had more disqualifications in this one meet than we had all season. Chase Dorsett suffered from leg cramps after his 100 back stroke and I had to replace him in the 400 relay and once again this was something that just hadn’t happened to us all season.”
Despite all the adversity, Waxahachie had several swimmers advance through the crowded prelims and into the finals on Tuesday at the Mansfield Natatorium.
“It was a very disappointing night on many levels, but we did have some successful moments also. Both our boys and girls 200 free relays advanced to the finals and were swimming very well.
“Kristi Clem advanced in both her individual events and Tori Kvapil advanced to the finals in the 50-free,” Pruitt said. “This was the first time for Tori to advance individually and it was very exciting for her since she is a senior and this would be her last competitive swim meet. She’s always done well, but usually missed the finals by a place or two.”
A senior, Clem place eighth in the 100-free with a time of 59.47 and sixth in the 50-free with a time of 26.43.
Kvapil was eighth in the 50-free with a time of 28.28.
Clem and Kvapil teamed up with Hailey David and Esther Tamayo in the 200-free relay and finished sixth with a time of 1:53.89. Highland Park was first at 1:43.23.
“Sadly, Kristi and Tori won’t be back for the girls team, but our boys team should only get stronger next year as our newer swimmers get more experience. We will miss seniors, Stephen Erickson, Jeremy Chapman and Cody Kendrick, but hopefully will find someone to step up and compete in their events,” Pruitt said. “We had expected Daniel Erickson to advance in the 500, but swimming that distance after being out of the pool for so long, was just too much for him. He swam a good race, but missed the final eight and placed ninth.
“Patrick Lawrence, Hunter DeGroot, Justin Miller, Scott Wyatt and the boys and girls 400 relays also missed the top 8, but swam in the consolation round of the finals. Our boys 400 relay actually beat a top-8 team in the finals, but the rules don’t allow you to move up.”
Junior captains Justin Miller and Blake Wright had qualified in two individual events but decided to scratch one so that they could swim in three relays where they felt they could help the team more.
Since relays draw in more points than individual placings, the Indians seemed to have a nice strategy in place but once again adversity struck.
“If our medley had not got DQ’d and Chase had not cramped up, all three of our boys relays would have been in the top-8 in a very tough region. So now we must wait and look to next year,” Pruitt said.
The boys 200-relay team of DeGroot, Wright, Dorsett and Miller placed eighth with a time of 1:37.88 after qualifying for the finals with a prelim time of 1:40.14.
Overall Waxahachie placed 10th as a team with 129 points while Highland Park was first with 875 points.
The Lady Indians were 11th in the girls competition with 75 points, Red Oak eighth with 87 points and Highland Park was first with 571 points.
The Indians placed 10th with 54 points while Mansfield Summit was first in the boys with 306 points.
“Once again, I was very proud of everyone on the team. It’s such a pleasure to coach a group of kids that really bond like a family,” Pruitt said. “They support each other every time someone is swimming and just watching them stand by the pool and encourage them to swim faster is heartwarming.
“They were there for each other through the downs of the prelims and the results in the finals. They’ve become a family away from swimming and I’m proud they help each other with school work, go bowling and hang out together. Not only are they learning a lifelong sport and making friendships that will last a lifetime, but they are learning life lessons that will benefit them as they progress into adulthood.”