Kingwood Park Leans On Relay Teams In Latest State Championship Win
Dynasty accurately describes the Kingwood Park boys swimming and diving program. The Panthers had previous state crowns from the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015 seasons before they competed in the 2020 UIL 5A swimming and diving state championship meet at The University of Texas at Austin's Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. They ultimately scored 215 points on Saturday to add another one in the 2020 season finale.
"They battled hard," Kingwood Park boys swim coach Greg McLain said of his team. "When you come up here, it's always tough."
Kingwood Park finished fifth at state in 2019, but learned from that year's champion.
"We knew we were going to be strong," McLain said of this year's relay teams leading the program charge. "We watched what Georgetown did last year, watched how they won their championship and really tried to learn from what they did. We knew the relays were key [and] we really focused on the sprint events. 5A is getting so fast [and] all the teams are so strong now that you gotta do good in the relays."
The Panthers followed that formula from start to finish on Saturday. Senior Christian Ripp got things going when he teamed up with Tyler Scott, Carter Bennett and Logan Rushing in the first boys' final. The group earned a 1:35.57 time in the Boys 200-yard Medley Relay en route to a third-place event finish. Later on, he joined Brendan Flaherty, Frankie Zelasko and Braden Hunt for a Boys 200-yard Freestyle Relay win and a UIL 5A state record time of 1:24.08.
"It means the world to me," said Ripp. "This is my final time swimming. So, being able to win, go out with a gold medal [and] go out with a state championship, it's the best feeling in the world."
For more sports coverage, follow Thomas (@Texan8thGen) and VYPE (@VYPEHouston) on Twitter.
Looking to get more involved? Check out ShopVYPE for fresh gear that supports local schools and the VYPE U Ambassador Program. To sign up for the VYPE U Program, apply at VYPEU.com.