Girls swimming heads to State with high expectations


James Pham

Senior Carlie Solomon competes in the butterfly on Senior Night in January. She is a four-time state qualifier and will compete in the State Championships on Friday and Saturday.

Fallon Head, Web Editor

The girls swim team earned their spot in state with a dominating win at regionals. 

The Panthers finished 126 points ahead of second place Lovejoy High School. They are now set to compete at State this weekend with 10 qualifiers. The meet will be held Feb. 17 and Feb. 18 at the University of Texas-Austin.

“I am [really proud],” four-time state qualifier Carlie Solomon said. “It’s a really big accomplishment for us to win regions and to have a chance to podium at state.”

The team has won Regionals six times, with the most recent being 2018 – the same year the team went on to finish second at State.

For state, I’m most excited about seeing everybody swim,” said junior Morgen Dozier, a three-time state qualifier. “We have a girl in every event, so I’m really excited to be on the sidelines cheering for them, yelling for them, seeing them do their best.

Stress was high among the team during the Regional Meet, but they calmed each other down. 

“All the girls just kind of hype each other up and just really focus on what’s going on inside the pool and outside the pool to make sure we’re doing the proper things to win and come on top,” said senior Renee Alcala, a four-time state qualifier.

The girls fought their way to the top. The top two finishers in each race qualified for State, while others earned spots after their times were compared with the other regional times. 

Those who finished first included freshman Elena Amos (50 freestyle), Solomon (200 freestyle) and freshman Ava Bailey (500 freestyle). 

“I completed the freestyle, and I walked over to where I was sitting,” Bailey said. “I just started crying because of how far I’ve come, and that I realized I was going to state for an event that not a lot of kids get the opportunity to go for.”

Those who took second were sophomore Cece Sullivan (50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke), Solomon (100 freestyle) and Bailey (200 freestyle). 

Emotions ran high throughout the meet, especially in the relays which were key in helping the team dominate the meet. All three relays took first place. 

The medley relay was really close and our girls rose to the occasion,” Dissinger said. “Both of our free relays we knew we should win, so it was making sure we had safe starts and advanced to state.”

Marissa Stone, Sullivan, Solomon and Amos won first place in the 200 freestyle relay. Dove, Alcala, Solomon and Amos won first place in the 400 freestyle relay. Alcala, Dove, Dozier and Sullivan placed first in the 200 medley relay.

“I knew that the team had worked a lot on the relays and executing the perfect races to be able to get the regional title,” Alcala said. “So we all went into that meet really confident, knowing that we were going to place high and have a lot of points.”

** Khiya Dixon, Jacob Valcarce and Emerson Harris contributed to this story.