Swimming advances individual, relay to region

By Zakary Rodriguez | Advertising Manager |

On Jan. 24 – 25, the swim team competed in the UIL District 27-6A Swim meet at Bill Walker Natatorium. The team, in total, competed in 15 events at the preliminaries on Friday, and to qualify for finals the following day, they needed to be one of the eight fastest swimmers in the given event they were competing in.

When it came time for senior Matthew Swanson to step up to the diving block, he knew that it was his last chance to make regionals. He would be swimming his signature backstroke, and he had been getting faster as the week progressed. His entry time for his 100 backstroke was 56.27 seconds, his previous fastest swim, but he swam it in 55.61 seconds for prelims. The time came for him to show out, and to prove to himself that he could make it to regionals. Swanson was going up against the seven fastest backstroke swimmers in the district, four of which had finished within one second of Swanson’s preliminary time. The times would be too close to clearly call who would finish before who. 

“I’ve been thinking about that race since I got beat by less than a second to place for regionals last year,” Swanson said. “It hasn’t left my mind.”

As he hit the wall to stop his time, Swanson along with the entire swim team turned to look at the time. “55.30” sat prominently in line with “Swanson,” and “SARO.” He had clenched the fifth place spot in the finals race. The last time a swimmer from Roosevelt placed in regionals, individually, was Matthew’s freshman year when, then senior, Kevin Malcolm made it. Because of that regionals drought, Matthew felt even prouder of himself.

Matthew Swanson and Barrett Stopplemoor hug each other as they realize they are going to regionals. The Roosevelt boys relay team placed sixth with a time of 3:43.89.

“I was full of so many emotions, I was so excited to make it to regionals,” Swanson said. “It’s a big deal. No one’s gone in three years.”

Following Matthew’s regional worthy performance, it was time for the relay team to swim for their spot in regionals too. The relay team consisted of Seth Gutierrez, Solomon Yoon, Barrett Stopplemoor, and Matthew Swanson. The team was swimming the 400 yard free race, every swimmer had to swim 100 yards, and their entry time going into the finals was 3:55.50.

“I worked hard to do something that hasn’t been done in three years,” senior Solomon Yoon said. “I think this is my last chance to achieve something with the team.”

When it came time for the race, Swanson swam first, finishing his four laps in 51.48 seconds. Second to swim was Yoon, and after him Stopplemoor. Finally, to solidify their spot in regionals, came Gutierrez. As Gutierrez started his final lap, Swanson, Stopplemoor, and Yoon knew that they had made it to regionals. The boys relay team finished with a time of 3:43.89, dropping 11.61 seconds from their previous fastest time.

Swanson and the relay team will swim in regional preliminaries Friday, January 30, determining if they will race in the finals, Saturday Feb. 1, to try to get to state. The swim meet will be held at Bill Walker Natatorium from 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. on Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. on Saturday.