Swimmers show improvement

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By Keith Sparks

The Liberty Hill swim team competed in its second-ever meet Saturday at YMCA of Highland Lakes for the Steve Hams Hoot ‘n Holler Sprint Invitational, where they had all five of their swimmers for the first time this season, finishing fifth out of eight teams, despite having the fewest number of swimmers at the meet.

Unfortunately, having only five swimmers, all of them girls, limits the amount of points the Panthers can earn as a team, but Head Coach Michaila Spradlin said she saw tangible improvement in her team’s second meet, as evidenced by two first-place finishes.

“I noticed there were a few of them, individually, that had faster times, and same with the relays,” Spradlin said of the improvement she saw. “The relays at this past meet were a little different compared to the medley, but they seemed to work together in the order that I had them in.”

With all five swimmers available for the first time, Spradlin was able to optimize their relay teams, which she said made a positive impact on their score and overall performance.

“At the first meet, we only had four swimmers, because one of our swimmers is in band, so I was able to sub in one of our girls, and that worked out,” Spradlin said. “Just the flow of it, because they get used to and kind of know when everyone’s about to touch the wall, when to jump in the water, so they did better dealing with that aspect.”

Last week, Spradlin said one of her goals was to find more clarity on which events each girl should compete in, which she said her team is starting to clear up by understanding what their capabilities are.

“I know a couple girls, they wanted to try some other events that were different than what they originally wanted to try,” Spradlin said. “That’s good now that they’re venturing off. There’s a difference between doing a 50-yard backstroke and a 100-yard backstroke. It’s a little more, so they’re starting to see what they’re more capable of, because in summer league and club, they usually do 50s, and now they’re doing 100s, so just getting used to that and kind of figuring out that they can go longer.”

The Panthers’ mixed 200-yard witch hat relay team – featuring Brooke Becker, Madison Sudekum, Rylee Frank, and Shayla Karahasan – finished sixth out of 12 teams, earning them 26 points as a team with a 3:14.64 finish.

Cassidy Sudekum was one of the Panthers’ two first-place finishers, taking first in the 50-yard freestyle out of 44 swimmers. Becker took fifth in the same event, followed by Karahasan in 11th, Frank in 12th, and Madison Sudekum in 22nd. Cassidy Sudekum took fifth in the 50-yard butterfly, as well, finishing with a time of 34.46.

The Panthers took sixth in the 100-yard sweatshirt relay, using a team that featured, Becker, Frank, and Madison and Cassidy Sudekum, finishing with a time of 2:08.85 to earn 26 points once again.

Madison Sudekum took 11th out of 19 swimmers in the 50-yard backstroke as the only Panther to compete in the event with a time of 41.48.

Becker was the other first-place finisher for the Panthers in the 50-yard breaststroke, finishing with a time of 36.10 to earn her team 20 points.

In total, the Panthers finished with 134 points, behind Dripping Springs in first, Burnet in second, San Antonio Robert G. Cole in third, and Wimberley in fourth. They were able to finish ahead of Crockett in sixth, Hutto in seventh, and Holy Trinity Catholic in eighth.

The Panthers’ next swim meet will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at YMCA of Highland Lakes.

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