The Texas high school swimming & diving championship season is officially underway, and while the state is notoriously stingy with publishing postseason results, a few highlights came out of the first weekend of district action.
Texas, unlike many states, is sticking to its traditional post-season format, with a few exceptions. District meets continue as prelims/finals events as normal, but with no consolation finals at those meets. The top 4 finishers in each event at District meets will advance to the Region meets (4 Districts per Region, meaning 16 per event). That’s a reduction from the normal 24-per-Region.
Regional meets and State meets will be 1-day events with prelims in the morning and finals in the evening. That’s a slight deviation from the traditional format that has prelims on one day and finals the next day. Boys’ and Girls’ meets will be split into different weekends, which is also a new format.
The biggest change is that the state championship meet, hosted at the Josh Davis Natatorium in San Antonio, has reverted to just 16 qualifiers per event for the state championship meet. That was the norm prior to the 2016-2017 season, but at that point was expanded to 24 qualifiers.
This year, the winner of each of 8 regions, plus the next 8 best ‘wildcard’ times from across all regions, advance to the state meet in each swimming event. In diving, the top 2 finishers in each region advance.
Texas is divided into two divisions: Class 6A, for the state’s biggest schools, and Class 5A, for the state’s “smaller” schools (though many are still very big, with the largest “small” schools still having over 2,200 students).
Swimmers cannot change individual events between levels of the post-season.
Teams have until January 30 to complete district championship meets. All Region meets will be held from February 5-6, with the Girls State Meet being held February 19-20 and the Boys State Meet being held February 26-27.
Below, we’ve picked through some of the highlight swims from the weekend’s meets. There surely were more that haven’t been identified, but this is just a taste of what’s heating up as Texas races to state.
- In Class 6A-District 5, the defending Texas Girls’ High School State Champions Southlake Carroll rolled to another district title led by senior Corbyn Cormack. She won the 200 IM in 2:01.02 and the 100 fly in 53.99. She is the defending 6A champion in the 200 IM after a 2:00.39 at last year’s state meet, but in 2020 she swam the 100 breast and finished 6th. With the top 3 finishers in the 100 fly, including National Junior Teamers Lillie Nordmann and Emma Sticklin, graduated, there’s now a clear path to the title for Cormack in that event. She is committed to swim at the US Air Force Academy next season, where she’ll arrive already in school record territory.
- Southlake Carroll‘s boys, who won a District title as well, are reloading in a hurry. Freshman Max Hatcher won the 200 IM in 1:52.50, led off the winning 200 medley relay in 23.51, and finished 2nd in the 100 back in 51.04. Flower Mound’s Jacob Dix, a senior Utah commit, won the 100 back in 50.93.
- The boys’ 200 IM is loaded up to be a big race at the state level for the next few years – in Class 6A District 21, Summer Creek High school freshman Luke Stibrich swam a 1:51.83 in that event.
- In Class 6A-District 27, Clark High School freshman Evan Croley made a thunderous post-season debut. Croley exploded to win both the 100 free and 100 back in San Antonio. His 100 free time of 45.08 is a best time by over three seconds, while his 100 back swim of 50.58 is a best time by almost two seconds. Croley is in the USA Water Polo national team pipeline as well.
- Another sophomore, Sonny Wang, swam a best time of 45.47 for Westwood High School. He also won the 50 free in 21.11, which is about six-tenths short of his lifetime best, in Buda, Texas. He anchored Westwood’s runner-up 400 free relay with a 44.54 and anchored their winning 200 medley relay in 20.56. Westwood High won the Class 6A District 11 title by just 6 points ahead of Vandegrift High School.