Nederland swimmers dominate 21-4A meet
NEDERLAND — It couldn’t get much better for Nederland’s swimmers on this 21-4A district championship night.
That’s because each and every entry on Julie Johnson’s boys and girls team qualified for the 4A regional championships in their respective event.
Each Nederland swimmer had to finish in the top six in order to advance to the 4A regionals Feb. 8-9 at Magnolia HS. That happened without any difficulty and that turned into the night’s greatest highlight for their coach.
“That was the highlight in my mind, that every swimmer qualified in his or her event for regionals,” Johnson said.
Nederland dominated the team standings, as expected, finishing a lopsided first ahead of second-place Little Cypress-Mauriceville and third-place Vidor in the girls division. Beaumont Central led by Duncan Brown placed second in the boys standings with LC-M and standout swimmer Alex Dorman in third.
Nederland did not set any district or school records on this night, but Johnson’s girls won first-place honors in six individual events and two relays while the boys won exactly the same amount of top prizes.
Nederland swimmers swept the two outstanding individual honors at the meet. Senior Kyle Mills was selected the outstanding male athlete and junior Samantha Wickizer was awarded the outstanding female athlete.
“There weren’t really any big surprises, no, not really,” Johnson said. “I had most of my kids swim well. Some produced their season-best times.”
Johnson pointed out three season-best times with two of those coming in events which swimmers did not win the races. Senior Destiny Reyes was second in the 50-yard freestyle with a season-low 51.38 and third in the 100-yard freestyle with a 1:08.75. Sophomore Bryce Darder was a winner in the 500-yard freestyle with a season-best time of 6:05.24
Wickizer paced her girls squad as expected by capturing first-place finishes in two individual races and participating on two winning relays. Samantha won the 100-yard butterfly in 1:05.49 and the 500-yard freestyle in 5:39.71.
She teamed with junior Kaitlin Borden, sophomores Theresa Nguyen and Emily Bourg for a winning time of 2:15.35 in the 200-yard medley relay. Wickizer and Nguyen combined with Reyes and freshman Cara Austin for the first-place time of 2:00.53 in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
Freshman Elizabeth Margolis won the 50-yard freestyle in 31.37 and Nguyen took the 100-yard freestyle in 1:05.74 with sophomore Olivia Harrington winning the 100-yard backstroke in 1:26.33. Bourg completed Nederland’s list of girls district champions with her clocking of 2:55.78 in the 200-yard individual medley.
The domineering boys relay team of Mills, juniors Nick Hoelzer and Joshua Sonnier and sophomore Patrick Wilson swept to titles in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:39.95) and 200-yard medley relay (1:49.87). Mills also delivered the expected results, sweeping to individual titles in the 50-yard freestyle (22.98) and the 100-yard butterfly (56.98).
Darder also was a double-winner, taking the 100-yard backstroke honors in 1:12.16 and the 500-yard freestyle with his season-low 6:05.24. Boys relay standouts — Hoelzer and Wilson — completed the list of individual winners.
Hoelzer reached the finish line fastest in the 100-yard freestyle, swimming to a time of 53.39. Wilson covered the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:14.00.
— Tom Halliburton