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CHS Swimmers Record Dramatic Progress at TISCA

The Coppell Swim Team recently traveled to Lewisville to compete at TISCA North Zone, one of the most competitive high school meets in Texas, to measure itself against more than 40 high school teams. The team sent its largest delegation ever to this annual event, 30 individual event qualifiers, which is twice as many as last year. However, even Coach Mastebroek did not foresee the multitude and magnitude of personal best times the cowboys and cowgirls produced.

I am incredibly proud of this team, and I couldn’t have asked for more,” Mastebroek said. “They did exceed my expectations.”

The team’s success in the last event of the meet, the finals of the 400 free relay, summed-up and topped-off two days filled with great performances and remarkable progress. The girls 400 free relay was led off by senior Anamarija Radicic with a time off 57.1”, which was a full second faster than her 58.1” individual 100 free a day earlier (her best time going into the meet was 58.9”). At this point, Radicic has dropped 3 full seconds in the event this season, which is unheard of for Varsity seniors. She also dropped half a second in the 50 free to 26.2”.

Freshman Rachel Li took over from Radicic and recorded a respectable 59.3” to unleash senior Reesha Goes who produced a speedy 57.7”. Like Radidic, Goes significantly improved her individual 100 free with a time of 58.4” the day before. Sophomore Krithi Meduri anchored the race with 56.7”.

If last-year’s state-qualifier, Aurelie Migault, who recorded a very hopeful 53.9” in the individual event, gets substituted in for Region in February, the school record may be in reach.

In addition, sophomore Claire McCoppin impressed again with another full second time drop in the individual 100 free in 58.1”. Her rapid progress opens up relay possibilities for her as well. McCoppin is also starting to pick up speed in the 50 butterfly with a 28.9” relay split.

Next, the cowboys got on the block for the same event and delivered an equally exhilarating performance: Cole Tramel (49.9”), Johan Pretorius (48.7”), Ivan Lau (49.4”) and Ben Borchgardt (49.8”) sped to a time of 3:17.9”, which was the fastest cowboy time in over three years. Four boys under 50 seconds had been a long-term goal. However, now that Tramel and especially Borchgardt recorded their very first 49s unexpectedly early, the 3:16.1” school record is a more-than-realistic goal for Region in February. Pretorius contributed heavily, but considering he is recovering from respiratory issues, more speed can be expected from him at the end of the season.

Pretorius, Lau, and Borchardt also raced the 200 medley relay together. The three cowboys pulled in Nathan Lim to cover the breaststroke leg. The departure of the team’s top breaststroker in May left a hole in the successful relay, but Lim has stepped up and has emerged as a great replacement. The boys stayed within two seconds of the school record. With a significant taper at the end of the season, they have a shot at breaking this record at Region as well.

Perhaps the biggest jaw-droppers came from the CHS breaststroke squad with one impressive personal best after another in the 100 breaststroke:

Bella Malick                1:17.4” (1.5” improvement)

Rachel Li                     1:15.9” (3.2” improvement)

Koharu Wakabayashi  1:12.9” (2.2” improvement)

Jonathan Ting              1:09.0” (1.1” improvement)

Aaron Chang               1:07.3” (0.4” improvement)

Aarya Atluri                 1:05.8” (3.3” improvement)

Liam Bjorkvall             1:05.3” (1.6” improvement)

Nathan Lim                 1:04.2” (1.4” improvement).

On the girls-side, freshman Koharu Wakabayashi rose to the forefront. She is now the prime candidate to replace senior breaststroke ace, Aurelie Migault, upon the conclusion of the season. Wakabayashi’s work ethic not only led to a time drop in the 100 breaststroke, but also in the 50 breaststroke with a relay split of 33.7”. In addition, her increased speed carried over to her 200 individual medley, in which she managed to drop six full seconds. Migault was relieved to stop the clock at 1:06.6” in the 100 breaststroke; that time means that anything is possible at Region and State in February.

On the boys-side, seniors Chang, Atluri, and Bjorkvall made waves in the 100 breaststroke, but it was young Nathan Lim, a sophomore that led the pack and got faster once again. Lim has dropped from a 1:12” 100 breaststroke to a 1:04” over the course of just a few months. Tagging-on nicely is rookie Jonathan Lim, who now swims 5 seconds faster than at the start of the season. With the unstoppable two youngsters, the team’s breaststroke future seems bright.

Lim gets most of his competition within the team from senior Liam Bjorkvall. In the 200 medley relay Lim recorded a 29.0” 50 breaststroke split against Bjorkvall’s 29.3”. Only time will tell who will end up on the record-breaking 200 medley relay at District and Region at the end of the season. Bjorkvall’s times and improvement are not to be overlooked. After a one-year swimming hiatus which ended in August, Bjorkvall’s come-back already features impressive all-time personal bests. 

Shreya Tirumala had an all-over fantastic weekend with a fast 28.5” and 1:01.4” 50 and 100 backstroke. Never before did she display this much speed in her prime events this early in the season. Tirumala also transformed herself into an all-rounder this weekend. She shaved two full seconds off her 50 freestyle personal best to 26.8”, a time which catapults her into the top four of the team’s sprint squad. In addition, she dropped two full seconds in the 100 butterfly with a new personal best of 1:04.6”.

The boys 100 butterfly featured a neck and neck race between rookie Nathan Kim and senior Ben Borchgardt. Although Kim out-touched Borchardt by a fingernail (57.4” over 57.5”), Borchgardt rattled the audience with a time drop of more than two seconds. For years, Borchgardt swam along in the middle-distance freestyle events to finally emerge as a sprint flyer/freestyler in his last high school season. He now is a crucial link in both the 200 medley relay and the 400 free relay, both of which are of school-record caliber. Nathan Kim, nonetheless, certainly is the rookie of the year with times that most freshman can only dream of. Besides his 57.4” 100 butterfly, Kim also recorded a speedy 1:54” 200 free and a very respectable 52.3” in the 100 free.

The man to watch this season is Cole Tramel. Tramel not only dramatically improved his 100 free (49.9” relay lead-off), which secured him a permanent spot in the 400 free relay, but he also dropped significant time in his main events, the 200 free (1:47.0”) and 500 free (4:47.3”). With these new best times, he is only 0.7 second away from the school record in the 200 free and 3 seconds in the 500 free. These records date back to 2011/2012. Not many swimmers are more deserving than Tramel, who has never been afraid of long hours and hard work in the pool.

Junior Ivan Lau finaled in all his events and produced a series of solid swims in the 100 free, recording four sub-50s over the course of the weekend in both individual and relay events. Lau’s years of hard work paid-off especially in the 200 individual medley in which he dropped three full seconds to a new personal best of 2:04.7”.

Rookie William Li swam the event as well and improved his best time again. His time of 2:11.0” was almost a full second faster than his previous best time recorded at the Hebron meet just two weeks earlier.     

The CHS sprint squad saw time drops across the board in the 50 and 100 free. Captain Ritesh Dontula led the squad with best times of 23.0” and 52.2”. Connor Neeley swam an all-time best of 23.5” and a very respectable 53.3”. Neil Upreti followed closely and was much faster than ever before with times of 24.1” and 53.4”. He also set a personal best in the 100 back with a time of 1:03.6”. Satvik Surapaneni topped the sprint squad’s success off with a personal best of 54.2” and a fast 50 free relay split of 23.9”. Hector Romero also clocked a speedy relay split of 23.9” and lower classmen Scott Moyer, Arjun Baindur, and Ansh Deshmukh provided hope for the future with their respective relay splits of 24.3”, 24.6”, and 24.7”.