Swim, dive to compete in district championships at Carroll ISD Aquatics Center Jan. 22, 23


Photo by Andie San Luis

Senior Miguel Barcellano practices a freestyle stroke during morning practice. This is Barcellano’s fourth year on the team and he will be competing in two individuals events and two relays. Barcellano has been focused on mental preparation. “My coach says the race is either won or lost even before you step on the blocks,” Barcellano said.


Swim and dive will compete in the district championships at the Carroll ISD Aquatics Center Jan. 22-23. The girls will compete on Jan. 22 at 4 p.m., and the boys will compete on Jan. 23 at 10:30 a.m. 


Normally, the district championships meet is one day, but it was split into two to follow COVID-19 sanctions. Tickets for the meet will go on sale at 8:30 a.m. on the Carroll athletics website the day before the meet, and the meet will be live-streamed on the Carroll athletics website. 


“It’s going to be a really fast meet,” coach Donzie Lilly said. “Instead of the top six [swimmers advancing to regionals], they’re only taking the top four this year with the COVID sanctions, so it’s going to be tough. I think there’s going to be a lot of time drops; the team prepared well this season.”


Last year, seven swimmers and divers qualified for regionals in individual events. All three boys’ and girls’ relay teams progressed to regionals.


“[This meet] went really well last year,” senior Marian Cheramy said. “I got top 5 in districts, and I qualified for regionals. I’m expecting some new times, better than last year. Again, qualifying for regionals.”


Athletes practice in the morning on Jan. 18. In addition to their training in the water, swimmers do dryland training in order to help strengthen muscles and improve overall coordination. “We’re really working on starts, turns and finishes, the three basics of swimming,” coach Donzie Lilly said. “If we can achieve all three of those, we’ll swim really fast.” (Photo by Andie San Luis)

The team has not had any positive COVID-19 cases, but swimmers have been forced to miss practice due to contact tracing. COVID-19 has also impacted team bonding, Lilly said.


“We haven’t been able to do as many social activities that the kids really enjoy, like team dinners and team building,” Lilly said. “But training-wise, I think they’re training just as hard as ever. I think we’re just missing a lot of the key aspects that the team really looks forward to.”


Lilly expects Cheramy, junior Ania Rejniak, junior Amber Du and freshman Kristen Dillard to break the school 200 medley relay record from 2012 on Friday and expects Barcellano, junior Justin Weed, senior Noah Kelly, and junior Tyler Davis to break the 400 free relay record from 2012. Lilly is also expecting Davis to break the 100 boys’ breaststroke record from 2003 on Saturday.


“I would like to get the school record in the 100 breaststroke,” Davis said. “I’m about a tenth of a second off right now. [I’ve been working on] my turns and a lot of speed and power. Especially in breaststroke, rhythm is a huge part of actually getting the stroke down and making it all flow together.”


Last year, Barcellano qualified for regionals in individual and group events. Barcellano will be swimming the 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 200 free relay and 400 free relay on Saturday. 


“I’ve pretty much done a lot of the skills I need, it’s more [about] the mental side of it,” Barcellano said. “It’s like you’re mentally preparing yourself for the races because even if you’ve been training really hard and you’re really strong, that mental game is important. Without it, you’re screwed.”


The top four in each event at the district championships will compete in regionals at the Lewisville Westside Aquatic Center Feb. 5-6. The eight fastest swimmers out of all of the regions will advance to state.


“So far, it’s been a good season,” Lily said. “I’m just excited to see where we place. All the work they’ve done since August until now, you see the results this weekend and the next two weeks [at regionals]. [I’m] excited to see how well they’ve adapted to the COVID restrictions and it’ll be fun to watch.”