AUSTIN — The incredible run of winning state titles for Highland Park’s girls swimming and diving team isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Led by a pair of sophomores and a junior, the Blue Wave engulfed the competition en route to claiming its 12th Class 4A state championship in 13 years on Saturday. Highland Park tallied 284.50 points to beat second-place San Antonio Alamo Heights by more than 100.
The Blue Wave set the tone for the finals in the first event of the day by breaking the state record it had broken the previous day in the 200-yard medley relay prelims. The team of Kate Boyer, Ann Claire Karalyos, Meredith Kelly, and Annelyse Tullier clocked a 1:47.53 to give Highland Park the early leg up on the competition with 40 quick points. The team swam a 1:47.68 in the prelims.
“We always like to start off really fast because everybody gets a lot of confidence in what’s going to happen,” said Highland Park’s Jesse Cole, who was named the Texas Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association’s Class 4A Swim Coach of the Year at the meet’s conclusion. “It’s an incredible run. We’ve had a lot of great teams. Sometimes it feels like getting those points looks really easy out there, but it gets harder and harder each year.”
Sophomores Boyer and Tullier looked like seasoned veterans. Tullier won the 200 freestyle (1:50.61), tied for first in the 100 backstroke (57.16), and helped the 400 freestyle relay team finish second (3:31.80).
“We really came together as a team this year soon with a lot of us training together,” Tullier said. “A lot of us are on the same club team, too. It’s always good to have your girls there for you. It’s really exciting to carry on the Highland Park tradition.”
Boyer won the 50 freestyle (23.63), got third in the 100 free (52.06), and helped the 200 freestyle relay team take first place (1:38.04).
“It feels really good,” Boyer said. “It’s sort of a relief. We were afraid losing our seniors last year would hit us pretty hard. It was really good to win the first race. I felt pretty good once we did that. It gave us a lot of confidence.”