Swimmers cheer on junior diver, reflect on past season


photo or infographic by Blaine Eckert

GAME TIME. Before he swims the 100-yard butterfly, freshman Aaron Barker takes a deep breath before the officials start the race. Barker, alongside three of his teammates, helped reset the school record for the 200-yard freestyle relay at this year’s regional meet.

The opportunity to represent oneself at the state championship in any sport is something that people dream of doing. The road building up to it is a hard road, but it is very rewarding with the sense of accomplishment that follows with it. Advancing to state is an opportunity for individuals to also represent their school in front of many people.

The Willis Aquakats received the opportunity to advance from the district meet to the Region IV-6A regional meet to show their skills in multiple different events. Junior diver Kelsey Weddington will be representing Willis at the 6A state meet next week at UT Austin.

“I am excited to put my skills to the test while representing the school,” Weddington said. “I plan on returning next year as well.”

While Weddington is almost three hours away from Willis, the rest of the team will be cheering her on from home.

“I’m super glad that we are going to have somebody represent us at State,” junior Kinley Gibbs said. “It is also amazing that she is the first person to qualify for State in 6A.”

With regionals over, it gives some people that might not have advanced some time to look back on the amazing season that they had. The Aquakats reached the regional finals for all six relay races, the 200-yard medley, the 200-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle, boys and girls.

“I would give the season an 8/10, we stepped our game up even after graduating some really great seniors last year,” junior Keddie Ramsden said. “We could have broken some personal records but we still did amazing this season.”

With the season over for the swim team, it gives seniors an opportunity to look at their long term improvement over the past four years.

“I dropped a lot of time, I might not have dropped as much time this year compared to the other years, but I think it was still a great season,” senior Peyton Sewell said. “I acquired some personal and school records while having a good time swimming.”

Goals for next year are already in place for most of the athletes. Getting in the pool more is definitely on the to-do list.

“I definitely want to work on improving myself next year,” Ramsden said. “I know that I can break a lot of records if I keep going on the path that I am currently on.”

Spending more time with the team is something else that they look forward to doing more next year.

“I think we should get together sooner before the season starts,” freshman Aaron Barker said. “Practicing more and putting together more team events would push us to the next level.”