Hayley McGregory is White Hot at Texas 5A High School Champs; Reagan and Katy Taylor Take Team Titles

AUSTIN, TX. SAN Antonio Reagan on the girls' side and Houston's Katy Taylor on the boys' side were team champions at the Texas 5A High School Champion-ships held the final weekend of last month at the Texas Swimming Center — site of next week's U.S.A. Swimming's Spring Nationals/World Championship Trials.

Reagan scored 167 points to Churchill's 98 with Lamar (88) occupying the show spot.

Katy Taylor's 124 points edged Klein's 114 with El Paso Eastwood third (103).

However, the individual star of the meet was ninth-grader Hayley McGregory of Houston Lamar, who set a state record in the 100 backstroke (54.65 after a 54.81 in the prelims) and won the 100 free with a 51.24-52.04 victory over Kristen Thibobeaux (Klein Oak), who was runner-up in the 50 free too.

Interestingly, the top qualifier in the 50 free was The Woodlands' Michelle Stabler (24.03). However, in the finals she faltered a bit and wound up third in 24.17. Winner Rachel McLaurin of Houston Westside clocked 24.13 for the victory with Thibodeaux's 24.17 second.

Reagan 10th-grader Celina Lemmen was her school's big gun, doubling in the 200 free(1:49.84) and the 500 (4:56.94) — fine times for a sophomore. In the 500 Klein's Nicole Ebert was top qualifier in 4:56.88, which would have won the race itself had she gone that fast in the finals!

Another ninth-grader — Austin Westlake's Lindsay Voyles — swam an impressive 2:03.73 to win the 200 IM, followed by teammate Kim Bercen (2:04.73).

Other winners on the distaff side included Reagan's Rachel Koelker in the 100 fly (56.80 after a pr 56.63 in the prelims); Houston Memorial's Jessica Wantz in diving (438.2 points), and Lewis Marcus' Laura Bares in the 100 breast (1:04.33), with Val Fenter (The Woodlands) next, 1:04.40.

In the relays San Antonio Churchill was tops in the 200 medley (1:46.55) with team champ Reagan next (1:47.32) and Austin Westlake third (1:47.98). The 200 free relay went to Reagan (1:38.25) with Churchill a close second (1:38.33). The bronze went to Katy (1:38.35).

Editor's note: Two weeks after her smashing prep debut, McGregory was at San Antonio for the Speedo Challenge meet, and all she did was win the 100-200 backs in 54.61-1:57.33 clockings. Both times are quicker than the listed 13-14 National Age Group records held by North Baltimore's Beth Botsford (54.78-1:57.36), who did those swims during the 1995-96 season, and won a gold medal in the 100 back at the Olympics in Atlanta that July.

As a freshman last season at Arizona, Botsford won the NCAA 200 back title, and was runner-up to Cal's Natalie Coughlin at last weekend's NCAAs.

So…McGregory's in some pretty elite company.

The boys' events saw Abilene 11th-grader Gregor Greiner become "King of the Sprints," as he splashed to No. 1s in the 50 free (20.68) and 100 (45.28, followed by El Paso Eastwood's Adam Barton's 45.89).

Clear Lake senior Drew Edwards took care of the 200 IM and the 500 frees, winning the eight-lapper by a fingernail over Lewis Marcus' Damon Rourke, 1:51.71-1:51.73. In the 500 he edged Houston Cy-Falls' John Patterson, 4:32.92-4:32.93. So in two races covering 700 yards Edwards won both by a grand total of .03!

Katy Taylor's Blake Scholz won the 200 free (1:41.92) with Plano East's Aaron Wuensch second (1:42.37).

In the 100 butterfly Taylor's Alex Boyce, runner-up in the 50 to Greiner (20.68-20.90), moved to the top of the charts with his 50.18 victory. In the prelims he clocked a quick 49.36.

Rourke, runner-up in the 200 IM, made sure he'd come away with at least one gold as he stroked to a 50.89-51.73 100 backstroke win over Houston Washington's Evan Jefferson.

In the 100 breast, Baytown Sterling's Dustin Fleming won in 58.52 to SL Kempner's Logan Westcott's 58.64. Both swimmers were quicker in the prelims, with Fleming clocking 58.38 and Westcott 58.46. Westcott is the younger brother of Texas All-America Dan, a member of the Longhorns defending NCAA champs.

The relays were divided between Houston's Katy Taylor, which won the 200 medley (1:36.10 after a 1:35.77 in the prelims); and El Paso Eastwood, which won the 200 (1:25.78) and 400 frees (3:08.22). In the 200 free Taylor was a close second (1:25.84).

— Bill Bell

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