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HOUSTON – Billy Gerwick's motto all season for his swim teams was "discipline".
That discipline was seen in the water, in their technique, how they made turns, their breathing and some of it may have seemed "tedious at times" according to Gerwick, but the reward for those hours and days of work put in arrived on Thursday afternoon in the form of gold.
The Legacy Prep girls swimming team brought home the TAPPS Division III State Championship with an overall score of 300 points, beating out Logos Preparatory Academy by 26 points.
It was their first-ever team state championship.
"It's the best feeling in the world," Gerwick said with a laugh. "It does take a little while to digest because you're so in the moment of trying to do your best. They announced fourth, third and second and when you don't get announced second you know you just won it. The girls were just overjoyed because they had worked so hard. They relished the moment. It was awesome."
The Lady Lions started the meet off with a bang by bringing home a state title in the 200-yard medley (1:58.01). After the initial relay win, Gerwick said they felt the momentum building.
"From there, every one of my swimmers slowly started taking time off and doing well," he said. "You kind of sensed it during the middle of the meet that we're going to win this."
The relay teams went on to also win gold in the 200-yard freestyle (1:48.67) and the 400-yard freestyle (4:03.90) to sweep the top of the podium in the relay events.
In the individual events, it was a big year for freshmen Janey Leiker and Emily Tomlinson. Taking second in the 200-yard freestyle (2:01.59) and third in the 100-yard butterfly (1:01.42) events was Leiker. While Tomlinson finished as the state runner-up in the 50-yard freestyle (26.29) and 100-yard breaststroke (1:11.26).
Other top finishers included state runners-up Bryant (100-yard freestyle – 58.89) and Serenity Stepanik (100-yard backstroke – 1:06.33).
"Every one of them rose to the occasion," Gerwick said. "It was a team effort. Also, the community and the support I had from the parents of these kids was absolutely wonderful for me."
On the boys’ side, the team finished fourth overall with a score of 170.5 with just five swimmers competing.
"All of the boys really stepped up," Gerwick said.
Senior Gavin Gerwick, who is Billy's son, led the charge for the boys as he swam to a pair of individual titles. Gavin took gold in the 200-yard individual medley (1:57.13) and the 100-yard breaststroke (59.56). The state championships come after a run of second-place finishes in his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons.
"This was his year," Gerwick said. "He's worked so hard for four years and he rose to the occasion. He's never gotten to stand at the top of the podium, and he was just hoping to do it in one event. He couldn't be more excited; it was just awesome to see him finish first this time."
The boys relay teams took third in the 200-yard medley (1:54.57) and the 200-yard freestyle (1:41.36).
As Gerwick looks towards next season, he will have to replace the talents of his son Gavin, Luke Henson, Layla Faysal and Paityn Smith but has a solid core returning for the 2023 season.
"I've got high expectations for the next few years," Gerwick said.
Full Results – Girls
200-yard Freestlye Janey Leiker (State Runner-Up) – 2:01.59 Layal Faysal (8th) – 2:27.05 Sydney Crane (13th) – 2:35.22
200-yard Individual Medley Serenity Stepanik (5th) – 2:28.97 Libby Haglin (9th) – 2:59.75
50-yard Freestyle Emily Tomlinson (State Runner-Up) – 26.29 Paityn Smith (10th) – 29.09
100-yard Butterfly Janey Leiker (3rd) – 1:01.42 Hannah Bryant (5th) – 1:05.32
100-yard Freestyle Hannah Bryant (State Runner-Up) – 58.89 Layla Faysal (8th) – 1:04.41 Paityn Smith (12th) – 1:06.29
100-yard Backstroke Serenity Stepanik (State Runner-Up) – 1:06.33 Sydney Crane (10th) – 1:18.10
100-yard Breaststroke Emily Tomlinson (State Runner-Up) – 1:11.26
Full Results – Boys
100-yard Butterfly Gage Gerwick (12th) – 1:11.27
100-yard Backstroke Gage Gerwick (14th) – 1:13.04
100-yard Breaststroke Gavin Gerwick (State Champion) – 59.56 Rowan Stepanik (8th) – 1:14.66 Luke Henson (10th) – 1:16.44
Fort Bend Christian Academy senior Grant Klatt.
Grant Klatt set two records and three-peated as champion in the 100 yard butterfly at the TAPPS state swimming meet last year.
What does the Fort Bend Christian Academy senior have in store for an encore? We’re about to find out.
Klatt won gold in the 200 yard IM and 100 yard butterfly at the TAPPS Eastern Regional last weekend to earn his ticket to state in two weeks. Joining Klatt at state will be fellow Eagles Whitney Childs, Aly Gregorek and the girls 200 yard medley relay.
The FBCA girls finished third as a team with 76 points to advance to state. The FBCA boys finished sixth as a team with 21 points.
Childs, a junior, won gold in the 100 yard butterfly and silver in the 100 yard backstroke with times of 1:01.04 and 1:01.55, respectively.
Fort Bend Christian Academy junior Whitney Childs.VYPE Media
Gregorek, a sophomore, won silver in the 50 yard freestyle with a time of 28.04 seconds. The Eagles’ girls 200 medley relay won bronze with a time of 2:10.59.
After setting state records in the 100 fly (49.37 seconds) and 200 IM (1:51.15) last year, Klatt won gold at regionals with times of 1:54.36 in the 200 IM and 50.13 in the 100 fly.