The Big Spring swimming team may have something to prove at today’s District 4-4A meet.
In a district with powerhouses such as Monahans and Pecos, the Steers are looking to make a name for themselves today at the Jerry Larned Sports Complex in Monahans.
“For a lot of them, this is their first year,” BSHS swimming coach Mackenzie Miles said. “They want to make a name for themselves. What’s most important to me is that the one who don’t get to move on to regionals, that they’re able to be most successful at this meet and get their best times.”
In hopes of getting more swimmers to qualify for regionals, the Steers will be battling Andrews, Fort Stockton and Greenwood alongside Pecos and Andrews today.
Swimmers with the six fastest times in each event will advance to regionals. Preliminaries at district begin at noon today and finals are at noon Saturday.
Miles said Pecos and Monahans are the most established teams in the district and their swimmers have many years invested in the sport.
Big Spring, on the other hand, has a handful of first-time swimmers. So Miles is hoping this meet is a big step in building the program.
It’s been an up-and-down season for the BSHS swim team. A few key swimmers have emerged in Miles’ first season at the helm.
On the boys’ side, the Steers’ will look for seniors Caleb McMahon and Ricky Garza to lead the way. For the girls’, who are not heavy in numbers this season, Miles’ hopes junior Rebecca Loya can continue to rise.
“I think they’re going to do really well,” Miles said. “Every meet that we’ve had, I’ve noticed little things have improved, whether it’s their turns, their technique, stroke or motivation when they get on the block. Just wanting to do so well and improve.”
The Steers do have an advantage, though. No matter what happens, Big Spring will be represented at regionals by its relay teams because there are only five at district.
So the key today and Saturday is getting as many individuals to qualify for regionals to add on to the relay teams that will already be there.
The Steers have been to Jerry Larned Sports Complex before, too.
Garza said it helps swimmers when they have the chance to swim in a pool they’re familiar with. He knows how to approach this meet because of his experience.
“It depends on where we’re at because sometimes we can stay real focused and calm or really nervous,” he said. “It’s kind of a big meet for me because they’re pool, I feel like it swims slower.”
There are other factors to consider, too. Loya said the little things count when she’s in a pool she’s never been in before.
“It helps a lot because being in a pool you’ve never swam in, it’s hard to see where the wall is. When you flips turns, sometimes, you’ll miss it. It just depends how many times you’ve been there.”
McMahon said the way he and his teammates approach races today is going to be key. They have to realize who they’re up against and know the times of their competitors.
“Most of it is just the people we’re up against, too,” he said. “Say I’m up against some guy who swims faster than me, you really want to beat him. But if the guy next to you swims slower than you, you just want to relax a little bit.”