CHS Swimmers Deliver at District Championships
After loosing most of their top swimmers due to graduation last May, it was unsure what to expect from the team this season. In addition, the team was unexpectedly shoved into the toughest District within the Region with powerhouse Carroll and Flower Mound. However, the young team set out its own course and refused to adjust goals even when it struggled to find water during a recent five-week shut-down of their practice pool. The CHS swim team cultivated a strong team spirit all throughout the season and delivered the strongest District performance in years resulting in one gold, three bronze, two school records, one almost school record, and 16 cowboys advancing to Region.
Junior Aurelie Migault was the Cowgirl of the meet with bronze in the 100 freestyle in a time of 53.3” which crushed the 18-year old school record in the event by almost a full second. As if that wasn’t enough she later on lowered the 100 breaststroke school record to 1:06.5”. Migault was also instrumental in the 200 medley relay, where she recorded her fastest 50 breaststroke split yet in 30.3”. Shreya Tirumala (28.5” backstroke), Carly Yang (29.2” butterfly), and Krithi Meduri (25.7” freestyle) all recorded best times as well and the four barely missed bronze in a total time of 1:53.9”, which was much faster than anticipated.
Shreya Tirumala had strong showings in her individual events as well, recording best times in both the 100 backstroke (1:02.2”) and 100 butterfly (1:06.8”). The young sophomore has booked remarkable progress since her start with the team last year and continues to get faster. Krithi Meduri, a brand new freshman, appears to be on a similar path. In her first season of high school swimming she impressed in several events with her individual 50 freestyle standing out at District in a new best time of 25.8”. This time is only a second removed from the school record in the event.
Another speedy freshman, Carly Yang, showed great promise as well. Besides her success in the fly leg of the medley relay, she also showed improved speed in the 200 freestyle relay with a split of 26.9”. With strong swims of the other three cowgirls, Anamarija Radicic (26.3” split), Isabella Malick (27.9” split), and Reesha Goes (26.5” lead-off), the relay easily qualified for Region despite concerns earlier in the season. Reesha Goes was also on top of her game in her individual events with best times in both the 100 freestyle (59.2”) and 100 backstroke (1:06.1”). Sophomore Sofia Simula was not far behind in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:06.4”, a best time by two full seconds. Simula also recorded a big time drop in the 50 freestyle with a time of 27.3”.
The biggest time drop went to Jenny Baggett who shaved off a full 9 seconds of her best time in the 500 freestyle in a time of 6:06”. Baggett has slowly transitioned into middle distance swimming this season and proved to have ambition in this event. Captain and senior Yue Taira concluded her high school swimming career in style with a best time in the 200 individual medley in a time of 2:43.59”.
Senior and Captain Emil Aaltonen was the Cowboy of the meet snagging bronze in the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.2”, a new personal best by more than a second and a half. He also recorded a best time of 56.0” in the 100 fly. Perhaps his most impressive swim came in the 400 freestyle relay where his split of 49.5” was three seconds faster than his individual best time. Aaltonen’s 50 fly split of 24.5” was also of great importance to the success of the 200 medley relay, which steamed to bronze with a time of 1:39.44, just 0.09” seconds off the school record. Justin Kim shocked even himself in this relay with a lighting fast breaststroke split that broke the 28” barrier. Johan Pretorius recorded a solid 24” backstroke split and Ivan Lau a speedy 22.6” freestyle split. The school record that the team broke last year with three seniors all of a sudden doesn’t seem that impossible to break again after all.
Despite fatigue from heavy practice saving the taper for later, Johan Pretorius raced to his third consecutive title in his signature event, the 100 backstroke. Considering Pretorius was victorious in the strongest district, State qualification at Region is again in reach. He also advanced to Region in the 200 individual medley in a time of 1:59”, which was good for fourth place. Ivan Lau raced to an impressive best time in the 100 free in 50.0”, a hair away from breaking the 50-second barrier. He approached his best time in the 200 freestyle by a few tenths in a time of 1:50.5” right behind Cole Tramel who recorded a time of 1:50.2”. Ben Borchgardt recorded a beautiful best time of 1:54.2” in the same event.
Captain and senior Matthew Rodman beat his best time in the 200 freestyle as well and shaved off a full second to finish in a time of 2:00.7”. Not much later, his performance in his signature event, the 500 freestyle, became the crown on his high school swimming career. His time of 5:20” was a full six seconds faster than his best time and about one minute faster than his best time at the very beginning of his high school swimming career three and a half years ago. With fantastic work ethic and consistency Rodman was able to produce this unlikely progress over the course of four seasons. His leadership will be greatly missed.
Newcomer Ansh Deshmukh swam a remarkable time of 5:43” in the same event, a five second time drop, and seems eager to fill Rodman’s shoes. Freshman Deshmukh’s short high school swimming career presents a miraculous case: After starting out in JV last August, he moved up to Varsity C only a few months later and recently earned his promotion to Varsity B. The team’s top middle distance swimmer, Cole Tramel, delivered in the 500 freestyle and upset the competition by squeezing into the top-6 to advance to Region. With a time of 4:50”, Tramel is just six seconds short of the school record in the event.
Elieser Gonzales concluded his high school swimming career in style. With beautiful strokes he powered to a best time of 59.2” in the 100 fly. In addition, he dropped an amazing 3 full seconds in the 100 backstroke to record a time of 1:02.5”. Aaron Chang came to District with great race mentality resulting in two personal best times. Chang started out with a second and a half time drop in the 200 individual medley lowering his best time to 2:15.4”. He than recorded a very respectable time of 1:07.7” in the 100 breaststroke, much faster than his previous best time of 1:09.1” Aarya Atluri dropped almost a full two seconds in the same event stopping the clock at 1:09.0”. Atluri has worked hard all throughout the season and is quickly moving up in the ranks since his promotion to Varsity last August.
The boys team came together in the 200 freestyle, which historically has been a tough event for the cowboys. Ritesh Dontula (23.8” lead off), Connor Neeley (23.0” split), Hector Romero (23.2” split), and Ben Borchgardt (23.6”) sprinted to an unexpectedly fast relay time of 1:36” which easily qualified for Region. Whereas it seemed a challenge to get anyone in this relay under 24 seconds in this relay in the beginning of the season, the boys now averaged a time of 23.4”. This may not sound like much, but one second translates to over 2 yards in distance. The biggest surprise in this relay came from Romero, who entered the meet with an individual best time of 24.8”, which means an increase in speed of approximately 6%. Romero also shaved almost a second off his individual 100 freestyle with a time of 55.0”. Connor Neeley did the same going from a 54.1” to a 53.1” in his individual 100 freestyle.