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Mermorial girls, boys brace for tougher district swim meet – Houston Community Newspapers: Sports

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 Mermorial girls, boys brace for tougher district swim meet   Houston Community Newspapers: Sports

It has been a most trying boys and girls swimming and divingseason for Memorial head coach Jason Mauss and his teams.

Just before the Christmas break, he had a family issue and hadto go to Ireland. Because of the bad weather around the world atthat time, he and his wife wound up stranded at an internationalairport in Europe for five days and he was away from his team fornearly a full month.

So as the Mustangs get set to compete in their first District17-5A meet Friday and Saturday in Katy, Mauss is certainly hopefulhis teams are ready for what lies ahead — mainly the Katy ISDschools.

“It’s been kind of a crazy season with my being away from myteam for a while,” said Mauss. “But I think we’re definitelyexcited about the district meet. It’s going to be a verycompetitive meet and we have to do some things differently nowbecause we’re in a stronger district this year. The past couple ofyears, we could just kind of wait until the finals to really cut itloose, but now in this stronger district, we’ll have to be verygood from the start.

“We’ll have to be strong in the preliminaries just to get to thefinals and then we’ll have to have fast times to make it toregionalm” he said. “But our district is one of the fastest in thearea, so if you can do well in our district, then you’ve got achance to do well at regionals and that would mean you have a goodshot at getting to state.”

He believes he will have around 16 to 20 boys and girls totalreach regionals, but is always hopeful that a few people will swimthe race of their lives and that number will climb.

He has especially high hopes for his girls team, which has donevery well in dual meets and has quite a few accomplishedswimmers.

“We feel like our girls team is really loaded,” said Mauss.“We’ve got some experienced swimmers who had had quite a bit ofsuccess in the past and we’ve got some good young swimmers that Ifeel like have a chance to make it to the regional meet andhopefully state.”

Sophomore Danielle Yoon leads a deep group and is chasing hersecond consecutive appearance in Austin. Her specialty is the100-yard backstroke and 200 individual medley and her times inthose events this winter have been among the best in the 17-5A.

Hannah Cooper in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, sophomoreKelly Denkler in the 50 and 100 freestyle races, Rachel moody andBrianna Burns in the 100 breaststroke and Denise Davis in the1-meter diving are just a few of the girls that Mauss believes havea chance to advance.

“All of those girls are really fast,” he said. “But some of thefastest girls in the region are in our district so I think it’sgoing to be pretty even in a lot of races. I think we have a chanceto do well, but we have to swim well because I think in a lot ofthese races, it’s really going to come down to just who is on thatday.”

On the boys side, the Mustangs are a bit thinner in the ranksright now, but the coach still believes they have a few young menwho could be regional bound.

Senior Harrison Robinson, a four-year All-American swimmer, isthe leader of the team and besides probably manning a couple of theMemorial relay races, he will also be in the 200 freestyle and the100 butterfly with a chance to win both events.

“Harrison’s been our leader all year,” said Mauss. “He’s reallythe lynchpin of the boys team. He’s very talented and he works hardand he’s the senior that we’ve kind of built the team around.”

Sophomore Jason Bo in the 200 individual medley and the 100freestyle, sophomore Collin Rockwall in the 200 and 500 yardfreestyle races and junior sprinter Cameron Kato in the 50 and 100freestyle races are some of the other individuals that Maussbelieves could do well at district.

He also has high hopes for a couple of his divers in seniorGavin Carter and sophomore will Schwartz, saying he believes thosetwo are getting better all the time and they have a chance to getto regionals if they perform well.

He said despite the strangeness of the past six weeks or so,this is always a fun time of the year.

“We are very excited about the district meet,” said Mauss. “Weare very excited about the regional meet. If we swim fast atdistrict, then we’ve got a shot to do real well at regionalsbecause some of the fastest teams and some of the fastestindividuals are in our district. so our district meet is really agood gauge, I think, for just how the regionals might go.”

The diving competition will be held at 5 p.m. Friday and thedistrict preliminaries are set for 10 a.m. Saturday with the finalsscheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The top eight finishers in each event advance to the finals andthe top six in the finals will go on to the Region V meet nextweekend at the University of Houston. Region V consists of theHouston, Aldine, Alief, and Cy-Fair ISD schools.

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