Meet the fastest team in the city: Trooper swimming

That makes 36 for the boys and 26 for the girls. Trooper swimming now holds 62 district titles. This year, both boys and girls swept the District 1-6A Swimming Championships. It was an exciting day for everyone, especially the girl's team, who won districts for the first time in six years. They were able to take back the title from their biggest competitor, Franklin High School. 

Senior boys swim captain, Anthony Fraga, is ecstatic about his team this year. 

"These guys are already incredible, both individually as well as when we swim together in relay races," Fraga said.

Fraga believes the team, both boys and girls, have built a strong bond that will help them succeed at their next biggest meet, regionals.  

"It's been a season full of pushing each other through the rough practices, motivating each other to finish the sets, as well as factoring in some good laughs in the locker room and on deck, creating a strong sense of not only sportsmanship, but brotherhood and sisterhood as well," Fraga said.

Before the team competed at districts, they swam against other schools at local meets since November.

"We compete against all the teams in El Paso while getting a sense of our own strengths and how well we place at meets," Fraga said.

After getting to know the other teams through meets, they develop strategies and stamina in order to maintain or better their placement to qualify for regionals.   

"Districts is a timed final meet," Fraga said. "Everyone swims for the eight positions that score points, and from here, the people who place first through sixth will advance to compete at the regional meet in Lubbock for a chance to go to state."

Swim coach Manny Gardea tells his swimmers that they must overcome their weaknesses at practice first before they go out to compete. 

"I tell them all the time that whatever they do in practice, they will do at the meet so if you have bad habits in practice you're going to show them in the meet," Gardea said.

Gardea believes he has a very talented, hard working group-- both girls and boys.

"We have a lot of depth across all the strokes on both teams," Gardea said. "We have district title contenders."

According to Gardea, the team has lots of potential to make it through regionals and go to state.

"Regionals will be contending for top three finishes and we have individuals and relays that have the chance of making state if they do the right things during practice," Gardea said.

Some swimmers have made it to state in the past so they know what to expect and what to practice. Senior boys captain, Omar Torres, has qualified for state the past two years.

Senior girls captain, Vivian Gardea, is confident that her team could possibly advance to state as well.  

"Usually most of our swimmers continue onto regionals no matter the placing at districts," Gardea said, "but this year I feel extremely confident about the team at regionals. We have had a successful year with some amazing swims so I know regionals will be no different." 

The team knew their competitors' strengths and weaknesses at districts, but going into regionals, they will have to perform at their highest potential because they won't know what to expect from other swimmers. 

"There's a ton of competition at regionals because everyone wants to go to state so really all schools pose a threat," Gardea said. "I definitely think that our team has worked hard these past few months for this so now it's just about getting into a good mindset before a race and letting our bodies perform how we've trained them to."

 

When senior girls' captain Sunny Montes is on the starting block, there really isn't much running through her head except for two basic things.

"Make sure to beat the people right next to you and listen for the beep to sound," Montes said.

Although these starting block thoughts may be simple, the technique that goes into the water is complex.

"We have been training very hard and critiquing our stroke and all the little things that contribute to being the best we can be," Montes said. "Our coach has put in a lot of thought into our workouts and a lot of hours at the pool."

As a team captain, Montes has pushed her skill set in many way,s but the biggest thing she has learned is compassion.

"The main quality I have possessed is definitely learning how to always take others thoughts into consideration other than my own," Montes said. "I've learned to be a team player and support my team as if they're my siblings"

Like her teammates, junior Cerise Saucedo has been on the team for three years and goes into competition with a strong mindset every time.

"I think about winning and touching the wall first," Saucedo said. "I get to compete for all the people that I am doing this for, my mom and dad who support me in everything, my teammates, my friends and family and people that inspire me."

Saucedo says that she has waited her whole swimming career to see Eastwood in first place.

"The excitement after winning districts was unreal; we have been chasing this for awhile," Saucedo said. "It has been a dream of mine to be this strong as a team--both girls and boys--and to be the fastest in the city." 

Although the team is at its strongest point, regionals require every amount of determination and strength.

"Before we go to Lubbock, we will go into taper training, which is working in the little details and putting it all together," Saucedo said. "By resting a little more and perfecting our strokes, speed and everything about our races, like turns and finishes, so we can advance to state."

Eastwood will be going into regionals as the third seed in their relay. The top two teams along with the top eight individual swimmers will advance to state. Regionals will be held in Lubbock the weekend of February 3. 

Sophomore Amarani Hernandez

Sophomore Bella Salem

Junior Joshua Hollister

Junior Cerise Saucedo (3rd in 100 Free)

Senior Omar Torres (1st in 100 Free) and Junior John Michael Hollister (3rd in 100 Free)

Junior Cydney Schwartz

Freshman Adrian Avila

Avila about to dive

Girls pose as 1st place District 1-6A Championships

Junior Lauren Melendez and Senior Omar Torres

Sophomore Evan Vicencio (1st in 200 Free) and Senior Anthony Fraga (3rd in 200 Free)

Junior Cerise Saucedo (2nd in 200 Free) and Junior Yesenia Calvillo (3rd in 200 Free)

Sophomore Evan Vicencio dives