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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Swim and Dive Breaks Out Ahead Of Competition at TISCA Meet

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  • Keeping her head low, Leah Zhang ’26 completes the first 50 of the 100-Breastroke. Zhang specializes in mid-distance events such as the 100-Yard-Breastroke and the 200-Yard-Medley.

  • Taking a breath, Liam Lewis ’26 moves through his 500-Yard-Freestyle. Lewis is vital in this event as one of the few distance swimmers on the team.

  • Pulling through the water, Captain Dillon Shadowen ’24 finishes his 100-Yard-Backstroke.

  • Amid splashes of white water and his competition, Vincent Zhang ’26 pushes toward the end of his 100-Yard-Butterfly. Zhang did well at TISCA, earning points that helped Westwood climb to the top.

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On Saturday, Nov. 18, Swim and Dive traveled to Dallas to compete in the Texas Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (TISCA) meet at the Mansfield Natatorium. This was one of the most successful TISCA meets in all of Westwood’s history, with women (223 points) receiving fourth place and men (285 points) placing third among top state schools like Southlake Carroll and Keller High School.
Similar to the Aggieland meet that occurred the previous weekend, TISCA was split into preliminary races and finals. The Warriors stayed in Mansfield for three days as unlike Aggieland, TISCA prelims and finals were split into separate days.
Throughout the hours spent traveling and the rest period in between prelims and finals, the Warriors had a lot of time to unwind with their teammates. They sang karaoke on the bus rides, shared warm stories over hair tinsel braiding, and indulged in matching Bucee’s pajama pants.
“I think the bus rides are most people’s favorite part of TISCA, especially singing and stopping at Bucees,” Natalie Rychlikova ‘24 said. “That fellowship with one another carried into the atmosphere of the meet, and the cheering was contagious.”
Even as the meet dragged into the afternoons, there were no empty hands or hearts by the pool. From jotting down pages of time splits to running around cheering for swim-offs and personal races, each swimmer did their best to ensure all their teammates felt supported.
“I think everyone swam their hearts out and those that weren’t swimming played important roles as well, from cheering to taking photos to encouraging our teammates before and after races.” Rychlikova said.
After a slow but expected Prelims round, the Warriors geared up for finals. The night before, they were visited by the spirit of approaching Thanksgiving as they bonded through a presentation of thankful speeches and loaded on carbs.
“As a senior, the Thanksgiving speeches were very bittersweet as I got to reflect on my four years on the team and everyone that has shaped who I have become,” Rychlikova said. “It was very emotional to hear what everyone had to say about the team and it made me realize how truly special our team is from the relationships we cultivate with one another.”
The next morning, finals blasted off. In the 200-Yard-Medley-Relay, NamAnh Truong ‘26, Leah Zhang ‘26, Sophia He ‘25, and Jaden Steen ‘24 triumphed with a time of 1:48.23 and bested fourth place by 0.43 seconds. Kevin Qian ‘25, Steven Ma ‘25, Raphael Wang ‘25, and Josh Lee ‘26 touched for second place with a time of 1:32.85.
Wang swam a 1:50.55 in his 200-Yard-Medley, dropping 2.73 seconds to land in third place behind Southlake Carroll’s Max Hatcher. Truong missed a podium spot by 0.20 seconds in her 50-Yard-Freestyle, but easily secured 19 points for the Warriors. He ripped out a 54.66 in her 100-Yard-Butterfly, successfully adding another first place to her collection.
In the 200-Yard-Freestyle Relay, Truong, Violet Hewett ‘25, Steen, and He sprinted for third with a time of 1:38.62. Julian Rusk ‘27, Harrison Tater ‘27, Dillon Shadowen ‘24, and Lee obtained seventh place with a time of 1:28.47.
In the 100-Yard-Breastroke, Wang and Ma competed in A finals. Wang timed at a 55.89 and snatched another bronze. Ma fought for fourth with a time of 56.01.
In the last event over the course of two days, 400-Yard-Freestyle Relay, Esha Ramanathan ‘27, Cate Palmer ‘27, Abby Denison ‘26, and Zoe Loschke ‘24 swam a 3:46.75 to place 13th. Wang, Ma, Zach Goh ‘25, and Qian concluded the meet with a 3:15.50 in 8th place.
The Warriors will compete next at the District meet on Friday, Jan. 26 at the Round Rock Aquatic Center.

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About the Contributor
Valerie Zhang, Reporter
Class of 2024
Because of writing, the spontaneity of ideas that pop into my head in the middle of the night has transformed me into a night owl. Throughout the late hours, I cultivate my obsession with period dramas, sports animes, and pictures of swim practice sunsets. Other hobbies include learning languages, lifeguarding, and sleeping!

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