2018 Texas High School State Championship Meet
- February 16th-17th, 2018
- Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center, Austin, Texas
- 25 yard, prelims/finals invitation-style format
- 5A (small schools) heat sheets
- 6A (big schools) heat sheets
The call-up lists for the 2017 Texas High School State Championship meets have been released, and so too have the heat sheets. Texas has a unique qualifying format for its state meet. In each of the two classes (5A for small schools, 6A for big schools), each group of 4 districts feed up into a single one of the state’s 8 regions-per-class (16 total). Then, from each of those regions, the two 2 finishers in each event advance to the state championship meet, as do the next 8-best times from all 8 regions combined.
The result is 24 swimmers or relays in each event in each class. Specifically, there becomes a distinct variation in qualifying times between teams from the state’s big swimming regions (mostly the Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas metro areas), and qualifiers from other less-dense parts of the state.
The top 8 advance to the A-final, while the next 8 best advance to the B-final where they battle for points.
In 6A, Southlake Carroll near Dallas has been the dominant boys’ team as of late. The Southlake Carroll boys have won 7-consecutive state championships and are in position to make it 8 this year. The school has the top-seeded 200 and 400 free relays plus Stanford-bound senior Jack LeVant – who is on National High School Record watch in both the 200 and 500 yard freestyles. He’ll need a 1:33.30 in the 200 free and 4:16.39 in the 500 free to get the NISCA public school records, respectively.
The top contender is The Woodlands High School, who have the top-seeded 200 medley relay, the 2nd-seeded 200 free relay, and the 3rd-seeded 400 free relay. There is tons of talent around the state, but the Woodlands is the one team that has the depth to go blow-for-blow with Southlake, including most significantly diving, where both schools have 2 high seeds. The 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke could be the key races – the Woodlands has no 100 free qualifiers, while Carroll has no 100 back qualifiers.
The girls’ meet has been more balanced over the last decade, but after a nail-biter 6-point win over Austin Westlake last year, but this year on paper have more room to play with. The Woodlands has the top seed in all 3 relays and are led by sisters Lucie (senior) and Lillie (sophomore) Noordmann. Lucie is the state record holder in both the 50 free and 100 back. Westlake, though, is no slouch, including senior Dakota Luther, who represented the United States at last summer’s World Championships and finished 15th in the 200 fly.
In 5A, the Magnolia girls and Dallas Highland Park boys are the defending champions. For Magnolia, last year’s title was by a dominant 82 points over San Antonio – Alamo Heights, but graduated a few key pieces of that team including Joy Field and Caitlin Clements.
A new contender has emerged this year – A&M Consolidated in College Station, who were just 9th last year. That’s thanks in large part to the emergence of freshman Kaitlyn Owens. She’s seeded 2nd in the 50 free (23.81) and the top seed in the 100 back (56.12) by a wide margin (more than 2 seconds). She’s led them to top seeds in the 200 medley and 400 free relays. The challenge for the will be depth – they didn’t even qualify a 200 free relay. The good news for them is that for the smaller schools in Class 5A, that’s not insurmountable. Magnolia only has 2 relays qualified as well. Alamo Heights, last year’s runner-up, are then left in a great position with all 3 relays qualified, although the 400 free relay isn’t seeded to score.
Highland Park is in position to repeat as boys’ 5A champions as they return most of what was a very young state meet last year. For example, their entire 200 medley relay at last year’s meet were sophomores, and Felix Van Cauwelaert finished 2nd in the 200 free and 1st in the 500 free as a junior. In fact, the only scorer they graduated was Robby King, especially with Ethan Nguyen’s continued development. The margin is small (they won by only 17 points behind them), but the 2 teams behind them (Grapevine and Tomball Memorial) also lost more than Highland Park did. The A&M Consolidated boys are in the best position to move up and challenge Highland Park.