Heart pounding, adrenaline pumping, the Jesuit athletes stand tensed on the starting block. As a robotic beep pierces the air the swimmers launch themselves into the water, gliding a few meters before emerging from the fluorescent surface. Saturday, September 23rd marked a successful beginning to the Jesuit Swimming and Diving season at the Knights of Columbus Swim Meet.
Winning with 124 points, the Rangers secured a 69 point win against Bishop Lynch and John Paul II. To set the tone for the rest of the meet, Ryan Brown, Noah Nguyen, Ivan Lopez and Will McKinney dominated the 200-meter relay with a first place time of 1:46.92.
Nguyen ’18 noted that the Rangers built off their initial momentum: “In the first relay and everyone got really excited and hyped up, especially the freshman. When they saw the win they said, ‘hey let’s swim fast.'” And the Rangers did swim fast, continuing their aquatic mastery through five individual wins, Brown in the 100 meter free, Peckham in the 500 free, Nguyen in the 100 breast, and freshman Will McKinney winning both the 200 free and 100 backstroke.
In fact, Nguyen’s performance in the pool earned him the honorable title of ‘Jesuit Ranger of the Week,’ an award which recognizes athletic excellence. When asked about his thoughts leading up to his main event he lightheartedly joked that “Actually before the meet I had a bag of hot Cheetos, which was not a good thing to do before a race. So before the race I was just thinking about how that was not sitting well in my stomach.” Despite breaking one of the unwritten rules of swimming, do not eat before a race, Nguyen and the Rangers torpedoed by their competition to sweep the meet.
“[Knights of Columbus was the] perfect opening meet, givingus confidence to move forward as a team,” remarked head coach, Doug Moyse. He continued, “We have a tough 6A schedule and it never hurts to get in a couple of early season positive experiences to help us not get down on ourselves when we go up against the much larger 6A schools who all typically have their own pools to train and compete in.”
While they appear graceful in the pool, the Ranger’s success attests to their daily hard work. “The key to both the team success and my individual success this weekend would have to be the hours of practice put in each day at 6 am, whether it be in the pool or hitting the weights,” reflected sophomore Sean Holden. “All the guys are interested in getting better and seem to absorb our stroke tips and feedback very well,” continued Moyse. Training daily in the pool, and multiple times a week in the weight room, the Rangers always strive to improve their conditioning, time, and teamwork.
Swimmer Cole Nelson ’19 remarked that “[the meet] was a good start to the season,” but the only way for the Rangers to continue shaving time off the clock is to “definitely keep practicing.” The ultimate team goal, as Holden ’19 points out is “[to qualify] some guys to make state and represent our team there, or even better get a relay team to state.” The Rangers would like to build upon last year’s success of senior Jack Aires qualifying for the state meet in Austin.
“This year’s team seems motivated to win, we have a great group of guys looking for big things this year and I feel that we all drive each other to be better.” – Sean Holden ’19.
Noting the team’s success coach Moyse added that “[We are] a solid team presently and potentially an even better team in the future due to strong Freshman and Sophomore classes. Our Senior and Junior class swimmers and/or divers have really brought their “A” game so far in terms of leading from the front. It is a blessing and a pleasure to coach them on a daily basis.” Underclassman development will be a key factor is the continued success of the program, as 18 of the 29 swimmers are freshman and sophomores.
With a commanding victory at the Knights of Columbus meet, the Rangers head back to the pool with their minds locked in on the future competition. “Everyone was happy that we won the meet so we took that energy back to the pool in practice. Hopefully we can come back with another win,” encouraged Nguyen ’18. With your Ranger’s luck at their next meet on October 11th against Plano
Make sure to stay tuned to the Roundup for more information on the Ranger’s Journey towards Austin.