Heritage High School will lead a strong group of 10 Ellis County state qualifiers and alternates into the University Interscholastic League swimming and diving state championships on Friday and Saturday.
All local qualifiers will compete in the Class 5A portion of the meet, with swimming prelims at 10 a.m. on Friday and finals at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Despite being a 4A school forced to play up a class, Heritage will be sending a total of seven swimmers and alternates to the state meet.
The boys’ team of Marcus Bilke, Jaxson Chambers, Matthew Thomas and Ben Rhine with relay alternates Colton Landon and Tate Cox will compete in the premier event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, after qualifying in last week’s regional meet. The Jags posted a regional time of 3 minutes, 19.52 seconds, which ranks them 11th among the 16 state qualifiers in the event.
On the girls’ side, Heritage senior Kellyn Lansdowne qualified for state in two events, the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle. Lansdowne is seeded 10th in the 100 and 13th in the 50.
Bilke, a senior, will additionally compete in two individual events — the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle — and is seeded eighth with a regional time of 21.46 seconds in the 50 freestyle. Bilke missed automatic qualification in the 100 by placing third, but earned himself a call-up as the state’s fastest time among the also-rans.
Also, sophomore Chambers qualified for state in the boys’ 200-yard freestyle. Chambers’ region qualifying time was 1:47.77, which ranks him 14th among state qualifiers.
Meanwhile, HHS won’t be the only school carrying the MISD flag at state. Midlothian High School will be represented by junior Alyssa Steinfeldt, who qualified in the girls’ 100 backstroke.
Other Ellis County state qualifiers include Life Waxahachie junior Brooke Bryant, who will swim in the girls’ 500-yard freestyle. Bryant is seeded 10th with a regional time of 5:14.46. Also qualifying for state is Red Oak sophomore Aiora Larranaga in the girls’ 100 backstroke.