LHHS swimmer Brooke Becker qualifies for Regionals

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By Keith Sparks

As a freshman, Brooke Becker is the first Panther ever to qualify as an individual for the Regional Swim Meet.

As part of Liberty Hill’s inaugural swim team, Becker finished sixth out of 12 swimmers in the 100-yard breaststroke in the Jan. 18 district meet, qualifying her for Regionals at Texas A&M on Friday and Saturday.

Becker’s teammates Rylee Frank, Madison Sudekum, and Cassidy Sudekum will be joining her, as well, as the Panthers’ relay teams also qualified for Regionals after performing well at the district meet. But Becker will be the only Panther competing as an individual.

Becker said the 100-yard breaststroke has always been her best event, so it wasn’t a big surprise that it was the event she qualified for Regionals in.

“Ever since I was little, it’s always been my personal best,” Becker said. “I’ve always liked it the best, because it’s one of the most technical strokes. I’ve always been a lot better at it than the other strokes, and it’s definitely my favorite.”

Although she’s typically among the best at the breaststroke, Becker said her technique is a bit different than most.

“Breaststroke is the slowest stroke, by far, but a lot of people spend time gliding,” Becker said. “I do it different than a lot of other swimmers. I don’t glide as much, and I just don’t stop.”

Becker will also be swimming with her teammates in the 200-yard medley relay, the 200-yard freestyle relay, and the 400-yard freestyle relay. Becker said relays require a different mindset than individual events, considering each member of the team is relying on the other to work just as hard.

“Going into relays, it’s not just you,” Becker said. “You depend on your teammates, and they depend on you, so after several meets, we’ve been able to build trust with each other and find a good order for us to work together. You’ve got to put in as much work as everybody else is to make sure your relays are successful.”

According to Becker, being a part of the first-ever Liberty Hill team and qualifying for Regionals has been a wild ride.

“It’s been really crazy, just knowing that we’re the first people to step in and be a part of it,” Becker said. “We’re all trying to build a legacy for future swimmers to follow in our footsteps.”

In addition to swimming for LHHS, Becker also swims for Waterloo Swimming (USA Swimming) in Leander and with her high school teammates on another team called Tidal Wave, also in Leander. Considering LHHS doesn’t have a pool, time spent with their year-round teams is crucial for the Panthers’ development as swimmers.

“Tidal Wave has helped me find my love for swim and helped me get into swimming,” Becker said. “USA Swimming helped me get faster and to prepare for meets like district, helping me condition.”

Without a pool to practice in, the Panther swimmers are forced to practice apart from each other, which can make it difficult to find a chemistry for relays, but with each and every race, they’re figuring out what works best.

“Since we don’t have a pool in Liberty Hill, we have to practice separately, which is hard to be able to practice relays and make sure we know everyone’s technique,” Becker said. “Every meet that goes on, we build better trust with each other and we’re able to work together better.”

Throughout the season, Becker and her teammates have been forced to swim against some larger schools with much more establish swim programs. They’ve taken their lumps along the way, but Becker said it’s made them better swimmers.

“It definitely pushes me, because I see them and they’ve had a swim program, and I just want to keep as close as I can to them so we can almost build a legacy to attract other swimmers and make our school as big as them,” Becker said.

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