The Golden Sandstorm of Amarillo High blew through the pool Saturday taking every single gold medal awarded at the Championship Meet. With an additional eleven silver and twelve bronze medals, the Sandies easily clinched the District Championships in both the Menâ??s and Womenâ??s Division. â??Our kids swam above expectations today,â?? noted Brad Douglass, Head Coach for Amarillo High. â??We had fun and the Meet was a huge success.â?? Douglass was also awarded District Coach of the Year honors recognizing his work with both the Menâ??s and Womenâ??s Teams of AHS.
Five swimmers from Amarillo High were pure gold claiming four first places finishes each. Sophomore Delaney Farris, daughter of Jeff and Lillie Farris, freshman Jean Dai, daughter of Zonghan and Yunxia Tao Dai, junior Michael Glover, son of Terry and Kathie Glover, senior David Ballard, son of Jerry and Agnes Ballard, and junior Clay Elliott, son of Jeffrey and Karena Elliott, were perfect for the day. Dai and Glover were also honored as District Swimmers of the Meet based on rankings of their finish times and events according to the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA).
As expected, Amarillo High claimed a number of both district and pool records during the Championship Meet. Eight district records were broken by AHS swimmers Saturday including the Girlâ??s 200 Yard Medley Relay Team with a time of 2:06.86 minutes, the Boyâ??s 200 Yard Medley Relay Team with a time of 1:47.11 minutes, David Ballardâ??s 100 Yard Butterfly Swim with a time of 56.52 seconds, Jean Daiâ??s 56.58 second finish in the Girlâ??s 100 Yard Freestyle and 1:09.06 minutes in the Girlâ??s 100 Yard Breaststroke, Michael Gloverâ??s 49.02 second finish in the Boyâ??s 100 Yard Freestyle and 56.54 seconds in the Boyâ??s 100 Yard Backstroke, and the Girlâ??s 200 Yard Freestyle Relay Team with a time of 1:56.84 minutes. Twelve new pool records were also set by Sandies today.
The Pampa Harvesters coached by Edward Garvin qualified 22 swimmers in individual events for todayâ??s finals and took home eight silver and three bronze medals for their efforts while earning a second place District finish for both their Men and Women. Coach Garvin praised the efforts of his team, â??We had really good swims from our kids. We always shoot for individual best times and most of our kids did that so it was a really good meet.â?? Garvin himself is a former Amarillo High swimmer from 1987 through 1989. â??Iâ??m happy for AHS, but it was rough having to swim against them.â?? Samantha VanHouten of Pampa posted a 2:26.70 minute finish in the Girlâ??s 200 Yard Freestyle race earning her a silver medal and praise from her coach. â??Samantha had an impressive time drop today with almost 5 seconds lower than her qualifying swim,â?? he noted.
Caprock swimmers claimed one silver and four bronze medals for a third place District finish in both the Menâ??s and Womenâ??s Division. Palo Duro tied with Caprock High School for Menâ??s points and therefore shared the third place honors. Eric DeMar who coaches the swim teams at both Caprock and Palo Duro High Schools was also pleased with the results. â??The kids did fantastic,â?? said DeMar, â??Iâ??m really pleased with our regionals qualifiers. AHS and Pampa provided us with great competitionâ??
This weekend marked the first time Amarillo had hosted the District Swimming Championships since 1998 when it was held at the former West Texas A&M pool facility in Canyon. Jerry Ballard, president of the AHS Booster Club, acknowledged the crucial role of Happy State Bank and the parents in pulling off an event of this magnitude. â??We couldnâ??t do a meet of this size without all the help from the Amarillo community and our parents. They really came together and itâ??s been a fantastic year!â?? Douglass agreed adding, â??The District Meet was a huge success in part because both Caprock and Tascosa coaches stepped up to help us.â?? That teamwork is unique among Amarillo athletics where the four area high school swim programs train together year round and the coaching staff works with high school athletes based on their individual specialties rather than the schools they represent.
Seniors from each of the participating schools were also recognized during the District Meet. They include Rolando Guerrero, son of Marcelo and Melissa Contreras, Catherine Valenzuela, daughter of Gerardo and Lety Valenzuela, Brittany Gonzalez, daughter of Annabelle Gonzalez and Sonny Perez, and Ashley Cates, daughter of Mashaun Jones and Ricardo Martinez, from Caprock High School. Pampa High School seniors recognized were J.T. Brown, son of Bill and Cindy Brown, and Travis Hinkle, son of Rick and Janella Hall.
Senior Sandies from Amarillo High School recognized were David Ballard, son of Jerry and Agnes Ballard, Gus Cabrera, son of Augustin and Gloria Cabrera, Campbell Cooksey, son of John and Cindy Cooksey, Ethan Law, son of Rob and Gina Law, Kelsey Malone, daughter of Todd and Lisa Malone, Daniel Ripperger, son of Duane and Karen Ripperger, Caleb Schnatz, son of John and Judy Schnatz, Kynzee Smith, daughter of John and Kelli Smith, and Adam Valenzuela, son of Santos and Silvia Valenzuela.