11/24/2019 — The Lady Bulldogs’ 200-yard medley relay team finishes second with a school record, while Gustavo Ott’s fifth place in the 500-yard free was the top individual finish for the Bulldogs at the TISCA Lone Star Classic on Saturday in Mansfield, TX.
Several other great performances throughout the roster gave the Bulldogs a lot to be proud of as the team moves into its preparation for the championship season at the end of January.
SHORTER DIVES TO EIGHTH
While 16 swimmers competed in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Mansfield for their highly competitive prelim/final meet on Friday and Saturday, diver Jada Shorter started it off for the Bulldogs at the Texas Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (TISCA) Gulf Invitational in Shenandoah on Thursday,
Shorter dived to an eighth-place finish at the Conroe I.S.D.. Natatorium in the girls’ one-meter dive, scoring 350.15 points (and only 32 points off Hannah Duckett’s school record).
The junior was sitting twelfth out of 22 divers after the first round, but she fought back to make the final round of top sixteen to place in the top eight.
RELAY RECORD FOR THE GIRLS
Usually records are broken during the championship season, when athletes are rested. Not this year for the Lady Bulldogs, who on Saturday lowered the 200-yard medley relay record for the second time this season.
Freshman Sarah Culberson teamed up with juniors Kailey Turner and Noelle Marsh and senior Olivia Gonder to break the school’s 200-yard medley relay record they set last month in San Antonio.
On Saturday, the girls went into the finals (top 30) by qualifying fourth out of 46 relays teams in the prelims. Their fourth-place finish on Friday earned them a spot in the top ten for a showdown against several schools, including last years’ 6A state champions, Southlake Carrol (DFW area).
The girls were in a fight for a top-three finish the whole race, as Culberson (back), Gonder (breast), and Turner (fly) gave Marsh (free) a shot to put the team on the podium, as four teams were in the hunt going into the final leg.
Marsh made up ground on one team within the first 25 yards to put the team in second, and then she held off a hard-charging sprinter from Round Rock Westwood (north of Austin) from overtaking her to ensure the team stepped on the podium in second place with a time of 1:47.02, which is 0.63 seconds faster than the school record they set in San Antonio at the Arena Fall Classic in October. Visit: https://www.mhsswimdiveboosterclub.com/copy-of-2019-20-season) to watch the race.
The same four girls also placed sixth in the last event of the day, the 400-yard free relay. Gonder (lead-off leg), Turner (second leg), Culberson (third leg) and Marsh (anchor leg) finished in a tie for sixth with Austin Westlake Blue out of 43 relay teams.
LADY BULLDOG’S DEPTH AND BOYS MAKE THEIR MARK IN THE RELAYS
Going into the meet, the boys were seeded outside of the top thirty in the 200-yard medley and 200-yard free relays, meaning they would have to improve their rankings during Friday’s prelims to make it back for Saturday’s finals to compete in the top 30. No problem.
Sophomore Nathan Scott joined juniors Gustavo Ott, McKinley Mouton and Cooper Waybright to compete against 48 other relay teams in the 200-yard medley relay and 46 relay squads in the 200-yard free relay.
The boys went from a seed of thirty-third in the 200-yard free relay to finish nineteenth in the prelims and eighteenth in the finals with Mouton leading off to Ott then Scott with Waybright anchoring the team to the big improvement and a time drop.
In the 200-yard medley relay, the order of Ott (back), Mouton (breast), Scott (fly) and Waybright (free) had a ten spot improvement from their meet seeding to finish twenty-seventh in the finals.
The results bode well for the boys as they go into the next few months to prepare for the championship season.
The Lady Bulldogs showed their depth in the relays, where they qualified two teams for Saturday’s finals.
Sophomore Isabelle Draeger (back) teamed up with junior Presley Heitzmann (breast) and seniors Abby Portwood (fly) and Salina Damas (free) to finish twenty-third out of 46 200-yard medley relay teams. In the 200-yard free relay, Heitzmann, Portwood and Damas were joined by freshman Claire Culberson to finish nineteenth in the 200-yard free relay.
Supporting the relays were also freshman Brooke Reinecke, junior Liv Flores and senior Erica Field, who all were part Lady Bulldog teams that nearly made Saturday’s finals in the 200-yard free and 400-yard free relays.
OTT LEADS THE INDIVIDUAL RESULTS WITH TWO TOP-SEVEN FINISHES
Gustavo Ott pushed through a tiring phase of mid-season training to place fifth and come within 0.54 seconds of breaking his own school record in the 500-yard freestyle with a 4:44.93. The juniors’ result was also the Bulldogs’ top finish of the meet. Earlier in the day, Ott also swam to seventh place in the 200-yard individual medley to contribute to his total of 34 points for the team.
Also making a championship final (top 10) were Noelle Marsh, Sarah Culberson, and Olivia Gonder.
Marsh finished sixth out of 70 swimmers in the 50-yard free and eighth in the 100-yard free. Sarah Culberson was the top Lady Bulldog out of three in the 200-yard individual medley with a sixth-place finish. The freshman also placed ninth in the 100-yard back out of 51 swimmers. Gonder finished ninth in the 100 breast, and won the consolation final in the 200-yard individual medley relay to finish eleventh.
Also scoring points in the consolation (11 to 20 from prelims) and bonus (21 to 30 from prelims) finals were Kailey Turner, Salina Damas, Presley Heitzmann, and Claire Culberson.
Turner represented the Lady Bulldogs twice in the consolation finals. She placed thirteenth in the 200-yard free with a new best time, and then she finished fifteenth in the 100-yard fly. Senior Damas competed in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle sprints, finishing twentieth and twenty-eighth in large fields. Junior Heitzmann also competed in the finals in her two individual events, placing twenty-sixth in the 100-yard breast and twenty-eighth in the 200-yard individual medley. Freshman Claire Culberson made the consolation final in the 500-yard free to finish twentieth out of 48 swimmers.
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