“If you have a lane, you have a chance.” That’s what’s written across the backs of the bright red t-shirts members of the Sharyland High School swim team wore at Nikki Row Natatorium Saturday for the 30-5A district swimming meet.
With a total of 74 members on their boys and girls swim teams, the Rattlers had plenty of lanes and plenty of chances to win Saturday. The fact that they won 19 of the meet’s 24 varsity events, including all six relays, was proof of the fact that they took full advantage of almost all of those chances.
In her 16th year as the Rattlers’ head swimming coach, Tina Jensen is certainly no stranger to winning. As a matter of fact Jensen has established a winning tradition at Sharyland that has resulted in at least one, if not both, of her teams earning a district championship in 15 of those years. Even so, Jensen is not one to take district titles for granted.
“I think they all swam exceptionally well today,” said Jensen. “I’m really proud of everybody. They’ve been working really, really hard. I’m really excited for them advancing on to the regional meet.”
With the Rattlers boys’ team having lost out on district titles to McAllen Memorial in each of the past four years, the task of keeping Sharyland’s winning tradition alive recently has fallen squarely upon the shoulders of the Lady Rattlers. The Mustangs realignment into District 31-5A this year however left the door wide open for the Rattlers to claim both titles…a feat which they accomplished in an extremely convincing manner on Saturday.
In the meet’s final team standings, the Lady Rattlers placed first with a score of 235 points. Edinburg Vela came in a distant second with 87 points, Edinburg North placed third with 78 points, La Joya High finished in fourth place with 55 points, Edinburg Economedes placed fifth with 30 points, Edinburg High came in sixth with 27 points, La Joya Juarez-Lincoln placed seventh with 24 points and La Joya Palmview managed only 4 points in finishing eighth.
As impressive as the Sharyland girls’ 148 point margin of victory was, it fell short of the Rattlers boys’ 157 point win over second place Edinburg Vela (240-83). Edinburg Economedes’ 55 points earned the Jaguars a third place finish, Edinburg North placed fourth with 50 points, La Joya High finished in fifth place with 48 points, La Joya Juarez-Lincoln came in sixth with 38 points, Edinburg High scored 20 points to place seventh and La Joya Palmview’s 13 points earned the Lobos an eighth place finish.
Individually, eight different Rattlers won their events with four of those going on to win a second event.
Two event winners for Jensen’s squad included seniors Alex Flores (50 freestyle and 100 butterfly), Autumn Chandler (200 IM and 100 breaststroke), Jehu De La Rosa (200 IM and 100 backstroke) and sophomore Annie Hernandez (200 and 500 freestyle).
Other Sharyland district winners included Jordyn Brechler (100 freestyle), Kenneth Chandler (500 freestyle), Kiki Honrubia (50 freestyle) and Victor Juarez (100 breaststroke).
In Friday’s one meter diving events, Sharyland’s Cecilia Hernandez and La Joya High’s Christopher Vera won the girls’ and boys’ district championships respectively.
As the La Joya ISD diving coach, Mark Bullard had three boys and one girl, all from La Joya High, competing at the meet. The fact that his divers had to overcome some challenges prior to the district meet had Bullard beaming with pride at how well his divers did Friday.
“The kids did a really good job today,” said Bullard. “We have an outdoor pool so we’ve had some weather related problems as we’ve prepared for this meet but the boys placed first, second and third so they did an outstanding job in my opinion.”
With Sharyland having dominated the district meet, Jensen will have plenty of swimmers competing at this weekend’s Region VIII-5A meet in Brownsville.
“The top six from each of today’s events will get to advance and represent Sharyland at the regional meet,” said Jensen. “What we’ve been focused on all along is how we’re going to place at regionals. We’re hoping to have as many as possible place in the top three at regionals.”
As Jensen went on to explain, only the best of the best at regionals will earn the right to compete at the state meet.
“The top sixteen from the preliminaries on Friday will advance to Saturday’s finals. Only the top one in each event at regionals will advance to the state meet,” explained Jensen.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.