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Among the powerhouse members of Region III-4A Swimming and Diving Teams, Paris High swimmers broke 6 school records and took 9th and 12th place titles at the Championship Meet held Saturday at Frisco ISD Natatorium.
Region III is widely considered one the strongest in the state, with several Dallas area 4-A schools that routinely produce multiple state qualifiers. Highland Park won the women’s division, while Frisco Wakeland secured the men’s. Paris trailed District 10-4A rival, Prosper, by a mere 0.5 point to finish 9th out of 23 teams in the men’s division.
In a race decided by mere hundredths of a second, senior Bentley Gilbert placed 3rd in a blistering final heat of the 100-yard freestyle, a single-heat now known to have qualified 5 of the 16 state finalists in that event. His time of 47.63 claimed one of the ten fastest among all Texas 4-A Regional Championships this year. It shatters his own school record and precedes a shot at the State Championship on February 22-23 in Austin. In a similarly competitive 50-free final, Gilbert placed 6th and improved his own school record with a time of 21.91.
Gilbert was also a member of the Wildcats’ record-setting 200-medley and 400-freestyle relay teams. Other relay team members were senior Sam Hudgins, junior Jeremy Brown, and sophomore Scott Gilbert in both events. All members repeatedly improved individual split times, contributing to the record-setting performances. The group has held, and continually improved upon, the PHS 200-medley relay record-time held since last year. Their 6th-place finish in the 400-freestyle relay shattered the previous school record by more than 5 seconds. The old record was set by Ben Donnan, Nick McDowra, Josh Weger, and Seth Clifford in 2001.
Following strong performances in the district championships, additional wildcat regional competitors were sophomore Dakota Rushing, junior Kevin Weathers, freshman Jeffery White, and sophomore Kaileb Williamson in the 200-freestyle relay. White also displayed accomplished talent in the breaststroke, as did Williamson in the distance freestyle individual events.
On the women’s side, senior Natalie Lane improved on her record-setting district performance by further securing the PHS women’s 100-yard freestyle record at 59.80, and essentially repeated her prior record-time held in the 50-freestyle. Lane, and senior classmate Kaley Coston also helped secure an 8th and 9th place finish for team relay events. Other relay team members were sophomore Avery Clement, and junior Sarah Mann who both provided superb split times in both events. The team consistently improved and threatened a 7th school record during the meet. In addition to relay contributions, Sarah Mann clobbered her own previous school record with a time of 5:59.70 in the 500-freestyle.
Also following strong performances in the district championships, additional Ladycat regional competitors were senior Sarah Croushore, and very promising freshman teammates: Cheyenne Plummer, Shikha Prakash, Shreya Singh and Zoie Young.
Team members that wrapped-up the 2012-2013 season prior to regional competition include sophomore Danielle Calloway, freshman Ryan Calloway, and freshman Hayden McFadden. All swim team members, including those not appearing in regional competition, have been apart of a highly successful season, and are commended for their hard work, commitment and contributions. Special appreciation to parents and everyone who has helped support PHS Swimming.
The Paris High team was coached by Seanda Gilbert, who replaced long-time coach Dave Dillon (now at Frisco Liberty).