Making a Splash

DHS swim advances to state with record number of swimmers


Ashley Kyle

DHS swim is set to take on the 2023 state meet Feb. 9-10.

After taking their first relay team to state last year, Decatur swim is headed back to the state stage, and this time, they’re going for gold. 

Set to start Thursday, the state meet will be held at the Josh Davis Natatorium and Bill Walker Pool in San Antonio. Hosting swimmers and divers from across the state of Texas, Thursday’s events will act as prelims for all events with finals happening on Friday. 

Their state appearance comes after a successful season. Led by Coach Jon Capello, the girls team brought home a district win with the boys placing second. The team competed at regionals Jan. 27-28, where 11 swimmers would qualify for the state meet. 

Advancing swimmers include seniors Hannah Smith, Eli Dollins, Ciyen Gamboa and Brody McKeel, juniors Zoey Hall, Brinley Burkhart and Aubrey Kruder, sophomores Logan Fultz and Johnny Albaugh, and freshmen Kenzi Hays and Kady Martinez. Senior Luis Ramos, junior Blaze Pippen and sophomore Julie Stone will also make the trip to San Antonio as alternates, along with sophomore Aaron Williamson acting as the team manager. 

“Going to state as a freshman, I am definitely beyond excited to showcase my abilities as well as have the opportunity to swim alongside my teammates,” Martinez said. 

The state-bound swimmers qualified in a mix of individual and relay events, with Decatur entering competitors in 15 individual events and five relays.

“I believe that my relays will be the most stressful because of the dependence my team has on me and the overall stress of us swimming our best times and possibly getting first,” Dollins said. 

While going to state isn’t new for Decatur swimmers, a division switch means their state experience will be different than in years prior. 

“Before this year, there wasn’t a 4A division for swimming because there weren’t enough 4A schools with swim teams to make a competitive state wide meet,” Smith said. “As more small schools have started swimming programs, there were enough teams to create a 4A division that we can compete in.”

Since there was no 4A division until this year, Decatur swim competed in the 5A group, meaning they were often swimming against schools with bigger and better-funded programs. But, with the new 4A division, Smith thinks there’s a better chance to bring home a win.

“We have a few people who could medal in individual events,” Smith said. “Most of the relays should medal and the boys 200 medley is seated first and girls 400 relay is seated second.”