A dive into district: five swimmers advance to regionals


Hyunsol Lim

Swim competes during the TISCA finals meet on Nov. 20.

The swim and dive team competed in its district meet Jan. 22, with the girls placing fourth and the boys placing fifth. Three girls and two boys advanced to regionals, which is set to take place Feb. 4.

“A total of five individuals qualified [for regionals],” head dive and swim coach Donzie Lilly said. “Overall, they improved on their times and were pretty much on par with what I expected them to do.”

During the Texas Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association meet (TISCA) in November, senior Amber Du was one of 15 to qualify for finals out of 600 participants, and senior Tyler Davis broke the 100 breaststroke record during TISCA preliminaries. At district, they both scored the highest points for Hebron and qualified for regionals by placing third in their individual events.

“[By regionals,] we just need to clean [up] some technical racing stuff,” Lilly said. “Turns, breathing patterns and finishing races — those three things will be our focus.”

Throughout the year, the swim and dive team goes through practicing three phases of techniques. Stroke and endurance for the first phase and power for the second. Now, they’re in their final phase. 

“Right now we’re working on [reaching our] top speeds and being able to hold it the whole race,” Lilly said. “It is a grind to get better. We’re looking to shave off tenths of seconds and it’s difficult. As we saw at districts, three tenths of a second can be the difference between first place and moving on to regionals or seventh place and staying home.” 

Lilly said swim and dive are not really technical sports and swimmers are to improve on strength and speed rather than ball-handling and schemes. Lilly joined Hebron swimming himself in 2009 as a freshman, and his relay of four other boys broke every record except one. Now as a coach, one of his goals is to train the younger class of swimmers to break the records he and his relay had set almost a decade prior. 

“There is a lot of young talent on the team,” Lilly said. “Over a third [of the swimmers are] sophomores. We will lose a lot of talent though — there will be 14 graduating seniors and they’re a hard-working group. But they’ve instilled a culture on the team that’ll be positive for the years to come.The status of the team is on the rise.”