Robert E. Lee ruled the pool in District 11-5A.
The Red Raiders won their seventh consecutive league title last year and the girls wrapped up their sixth straight district crown.
The inclusion into the district of Rockwall and Rockwall-Heath, which also boast strong swimming programs, ratchets up this year’s District 12-5A Swimming and Diving Championships.
Lee coach Matt Franks admits his kids can no longer expect to medal just by competing against inferior programs.
And he added Lee is looking forward to the challenge.
“There is a real sense of excitement because you really have to be at your top level to advance to regionals,” Franks said. “It’s going to be a battle for every event; for every relay. This is probably going to be the best district meet we’ve had in the last eight years as far as competition.”
The action begins at 10 a.m. today at Rockwall ISD Aquatic Center. The top six finishers in each event qualify for the Region II meet Feb. 8-9, also in Rockwall.
Lee’s boys are led by junior Jack Oliver and sophomore David Hudson. Oliver is competing in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly. He enters with the second-best seed time in the 200 free and first in the 100 fly. Hudson is seeded first in the 200 individual medley and second in the 100 backstroke.
“Those are the top two contenders to finish in the top three,” Franks said. “I really think the boys (overall team champion) will come down to the last event.”
As for the girls, Lee’s Emily Stanford, Haley Dyer and Lauren Lewis enter with top seeds in their respective events. Stanford, a junior, is seeded first in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. Dyer, a junior, is seeded fourth in the 50 free-style and second in the 100 free. Lewis, a sophomore, is seeded second in both the 500 free and 200 free.
“The girls is dead even between us, Rockwall and Rockwall-Heath,” Franks said. “Rockwall has a really young team just like we do, so it will be a coin toss. Heath has talented swimmers, but they don’t have the depth.”
Lee could be in danger of having its district title streak snapped this week, but Franks is looking at the strong competition as an advantage.
“It will help our overall performance because the kids know you have to earn your trip (to regionals),” Franks said. “So I am really excited about that.”