by Daisy Creager| Staff writer
On February 11 and 12 the swim and dive team took part in the Region VII swim meet finals, walking away with the most medals in Johnson’s swim team history. The state champion from each region event is guaranteed a spot at the state meet. With favorable times posted in a considerable number of events, several Johnson swimmers will be continuing as the UIL contests progresses to the state level.
Senior Riley Marks leading the way as the varsity girls finished in 4th place in the region.
Marks racked up gold medals and qualified for multiple state invites when she won the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:04.55, destroyed the 100-yard backstroke, and swam the 200-yard freestyle relay as part of a team that also featured Brianna Higgins, Taylor Silvestry and Raquel Grays. That group went on to get a silver medal in the 400-yard freestyle relay, and are currently waiting to see if they qualified for district
Grays set Johnson records in the 50 and 100 yard Freestyle events, and is waiting for call back.
“I mean, it was a good feeling, I guess. We were hoping to do as we as we did,” Marks said. “I love our team. We’re always with each other really early in the morning before the sun comes up. We’ve gotten really close. Swimming is a really hard sport, so when everyone’s doing it together, it makes it better.”
Like the girls, the varsity boys placed fourth as a team; their best standing so far in Johnson’s history.
Reid McCorkle took home silver and lowered the school record time in the 100-yard backstroke. Nicolas Guillen placed second in the 100-yard breast stroke, and both boys might qualify for state call-ups.
A team of McCorkle, Guillen, Andrew Kehrberg and Josh Morgan posted a new school record and placed 3rd overall in the 200-yard medley relay. Another team of Guillen, Morgan, Cameron Wickes and Michael Sweeney also took third place with a new school record in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Both teams are possible state qualifiers.
“I was amazed with how far we’ve come in four years. Four years ago, these guys came in as freshmen, and all of a sudden they’re at the top of their game,” swim coach Dustin Holland said.
This meet was monumental for the team and the school; new records were set, and old ones were surpassed. Holland believes that Johnson has gone from being the new kid on the block to a truly daunting opponent.
“I think the reason [this year is] really different is because we have a group of seniors that have been here for four years now. They know what is expected of them, they lead by example and know what to do. They don’t have to ask ‘What’s next? What do we need to do?’” Holland said. “They know what I want them to do. It’s to the point where they will say ‘okay let’s do this’ without me having to tell them- they get it. I think that shows that they have someone to look up to and respect instead of just looking to a coach to respect. They have their peers- it makes the team closer.”