Victories and positive records all sound good, but at the end of the season, only one thing really matters: championships. The anxious swimmers sit in the cold locker room waiting to begin warm-ups for regionals, the biggest meet of the year. They head out of the locker room, and onto the pool deck, where they size up their opponents. They plunge into the warm-up pool and the meet commences.
Following a second place district finish, the Jesuit swim team sent nine swimmers whose individual or relay performances had earned them a spot, to the regional meet at the Westside Aquatic Center in Lewisville, TX. The two-day showdown of the best swimmers in the region took place on the weekend of February 3rd and was the toughest test to date for the squad.
The regional qualifiers were freshman Ivan Lopez, juniors Noah Nguyen and Charlie Day, and seniors Tim Bedard, Patrick Daniels, Jack Matthews, Eamon Stack, and Jack Ayers. Of these swimmers, Nguyen, Day, Daniels, Lopez, and Ayers would qualify for the second day of competition, Jack Matthews missing a spot by one place. Although the each member of the group swam valiantly, at the end of the second day, only Jack Ayers would qualify for the state competition with a second place finish in the 50 free, setting a Jesuit record.
A captain and senior leader of the team, Abbas Hussain ’17 had this to say about the team’s performance: “I was impressed with the team’s remarkable way to close out a long season, or four seasons for the seniors. It was great to see the hard work of so many swimmers every day at 6’oclock in the morning pay off big. Also, it was a little sad to think about this being the last meet and how all the seniors stuck together for four years on this roller coaster. We had a great time, but I think for me I’m a little burned out from swimming, so I’ll probably hang up the flippers for a little while.”
Continuing Abbas’ sentiment, Nguyen added that “even those that didn’t swim showed up for the support of the team.” His teammate Ivan Lopez ’20 said of the regional meet, “All the swimmers displayed how hard they worked all season which resulted in many best times. The team showed a lot of heart, supporting each other throughout every race which ultimately was a great ending to our season.” Eamon Stack ’17 even called the competition “a truly magical performance.”
Jack Ayers, following his qualification for State, made the trip to Austin on February 17th and finished an astonishing 7th place in the state of Texas for the 50 free. He tied his own Jesuit record of 20.91 seconds in the event.
Although the swim season has drawn to a close, as with every team, the comradery and brotherhood formed through the season are not lost, and you can bet the swim team will be back and stronger than ever next year.