10/26/2019 -- Noelle Marsh led the way for the Lady Bulldogs with four podium finishes to help the girls place third out of 20-plus high schools at the Arena Fall Classic in San Antonio on Saturday. Despite only four boys qualifying for the highly-competitive meet, they made their presence felt with strong scoring results to place twelfth overall.
Marsh, who is a junior, took second in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle races, while anchoring the girls’ 200-yard medley relay to a second-place finish and a new school record. She also swam the lead-off leg in the 400-free relay team for another second-place finish, which was only 1.49 seconds short of beating Soutlhlake Carroll High School for the win.
Nearly 20 swim Bulldogs qualified for the two-day, prelim-finals invitational meet, which saw 23 high schools from around Texas compete. During Friday’s prelims, the Bulldogs placed several swimmers and relay squads into the top sixteen for Saturday’s A and B Finals.
‘It was a team effort,” said Jared Kaminski, Bulldogs Swim and Dive Head Coach. “There’s lots of little things to work on and clean up, but it was fun and fast.”
TOP-EIGHT INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
Joining Marsh in the top eight were freshmen Sarah Culberson and Claire Culberson, juniors Kailey Turner, Presley Heitzmann and Gustavo Ott, and senior Olivia Gonder.
Sarah was the only other Bulldog to finish in the top three in an individual event with her third-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke. She nearly had two top-three finishes with her fourth in the 200-yard individual medley. Claire took sixth in the 500-yard free with a new best time. She just missed the top eight in the 100-yard breaststroke, but won the B Final by nearly one-second with another new best time.
Turner, who holds the school record in the 100-yard butterfly, placed fourth in the event. Turner also placed fifth in the 200-yard freestyle, one spot ahead of teammate Gonder. Also finishing sixth and racing in the A Finals was Heitzmann in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Ott had the top individual result for the boys, placing fifth in the 200-yard free.
Top sixteen results are a great way for teams to stack up points, and the Bulldogs did that with several swimmers posting scoring results on Saturday in the B Final.
Heitzmann (200-yard individual medley), Salina Damas (50-yard free), Sierra Tice (50-yard free), Gonder (100-yard fly), Claire Culberson (100-yard breaststroke), Cooper Waybright (500-yard free), Isabelle Draeger (100-yard backstroke), Erica Field (100-yard backstroke), McKinley Mouton (100-yard breaststroke) and Ott (100-yard breaststroke) all added important points from the B Finals.
RELAYS — A RECORD AND MORE POINTS
When it comes to the relays, the Bulldogs always show up to earn the double points that are up for grabs.
The foursome of Marsh, Sarah Culberson, Turner and Gonder had the top results in the relays for the Bulldogs with two second-place finishes in deep fields. Not only did they set a school record in the 200-yard medley relay, they finished second in events featuring strong 6A schools.
First in the medley relay, the girls finished 0.42 behind San Antonio’s Johnson High School, but they defeated the defending Texas 6A State Girl’s Team Champions, Southlake Carroll High School. In the 400-yard free relay, the Lady Bulldogs placed second to Southlake (1.48 seconds behind), but were six seconds ahead of Round Rock High School and Ronald Reagan High School.
The early season record bodes well for the girls, who are at a point in the season where training is heavy and they are not rested.
The previous 200-yard medley relay record was set by past Bulldogs Savannah Schwienteck, Dove Niccum, Caitlin Clements and current senior Gonder, who teamed up to swim 1:47.76 in 2017 to win the Region 6 Championships.
Adding to the good news in the 200-yard medley relay was the thirteenth-place finish by Field, Heitzmann, Abby Portwood and Damas. Sophomore Tice later joined Portwood, Damas and Heitzmann to place eighth in the 200-yard freestyle’s A Final, beating out twenty other teams.
The Lady Bulldogs excellent depth was showcased again in the final event, where Tice, Claire Culberson, Field, and Liv Flores placed fourth (and twelfth overall) in the B Final of the 400-yard free relay.
The Bulldogs brought just enough boys to form a relay team, and they made the most of it. Sophomore Nathan Scott joined juniors Waybright, Mouton and Ott to have strong showings in Saturday’s B Finals. In the 400-yard free relay, the boys placed second (tenth overall) in the B Final and fourth (twelfth overall) in the 200-yard free relay B Final.
Full results can be found on the Swim & Dive homepage (documents link) and the Booster Club website (see news).
VOLUNTEERS AND SPONSORS
Thank you to all of our sponsors and volunteers. The team had several parents travel to the meet to support the team. Thank you to all of them for timing and cheering. A special thanks to Michelle Waybright for taking more great photographs, which will be posted on the team Shutterfly site.
We also continue to be very grateful for our sponsors, who include:
- The Adventure Begins — Comics, Games and More (Gold Sponsor)
- R Group Realtors, Joe Mark and Kimberley Robinson (Gold Sponsor)
- SpeedPro Magnolia (Silver Sponsor)
Their support for our team is important and appreciated.