Filled with determination and passion, the swim team embarked on their annual journey to Lubbock for the Region 6A Swim Meet on Thursday, Jan. 31 through Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Pete Ragus Swim Center. With the stakes high to qualify within the top two, one one thousandth of a second could be the deciding factor between a champion and just another competitor. 

“Everyone was pumped and ready to swim,” sophomore swimmer Olivia Caban said. “That’s what we’ve been training for.”

Noted as one of the most fulfilling memories of the entire season for the team, the numerous months of early mornings all became worth it as swimmers dove into the competition pool. Alongside other North Texas teams, region is the time where friendships are strengthened, memories are made and records are broken.

“Not everyone made it to finals but everyone tried their hardest and did the best they could,” Caban explained. “Everyone did amazing at this meet, [with] the team as a whole cheering for one another.”

For some, this meet was also a symbol and representation of one’s own strength. For two time state qualifier, Maci Finder, this was especially true. Diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy early during the school year, her condition set her back on her quest to state. However, she was determined to not let a medical condition hold her back from her dreams.

“Everyday I would ask myself if I’m even good enough to continue doing what I love. It was difficult to get out of that state of mind after not being consistent with my practices like I was freshman year. It really was a struggle to see other people getting better while I was held back,” Finder confessed.

Staying true to herself, Finder reached her goal of making state by placing second in the 200 freestyle.

“I gave it my all and it gave me the results I wanted,” Finder said happily. “I was excited.”

With the swim meet in the morning, swimmers had the afternoon free to lounge around the hotel, catch up on homework and play games with teammates. While cheering your fellow friends on in itself is a bonding moment, the time spent at the hotel further strengthened friendships, allowing the athletes to build relationships far beyond just average teammates. 

“We played cards and did the face masks together,” Caban laughed. “Just spending time with the team as a whole and also getting to know my roommates better [were some favorite memories].”

A memory that stays with swimmers throughout their lives, team members described the cheering screams and shouts of teammates that gives chills to all the listeners. Strengthened by their surroundings and uniting impact, the Falcon Swimmers broke two of their previous records, dominating the rankings throughout the semi-finals, and finals, overall sending Finder to this month’s Class 6A State Swimming and Diving Championship Meet on February 15-16 in Austin.

Results from the Region 6A Swim Meet:

Girls 200 Medley Relay – 8th place

Boys 200 Medley Relay – 15th place

Girls 200 Free Relay – 6th place (New Record)

Boys 200 Free Relay – 6th place

Girls 400 Free Relay – 9th place

Boys 400 Free Relay – 15th place

Girls 200 Free – Maci Finder, 2nd place (New Record)

Girls 50 Free – Mia Cicerelli, 6th place

Boys 50 Free – Karson Gopffarth, 6th place

Girls 100 Free – Mia Cicerelli, 8th place

Girls 100 Fly – Chloe Burgar, 8th place

Girls 500 Free – Maci Finder, 4th place

Girls 500 Free- Anna Lea Hankins, 12th place

Boys 1 mtr Diving – Karson Gopffarth, 10th place

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By Serena Shabout

Serena is a senior and News Editor of Talon. She loves books, blacklist and bundt cakes.

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