Since 2007, the Granbury SEALS have sent nearly 300 swimmers to the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Games of Texas.
But they have never sent 50 in one season, a magical number coach Janet Steenberge believes is within their grasp this season as they prepare for the TAAF Region IV Meet in Keller this weekend.
“I ordered 50 caps for state, so hopefully it was the right amount,” said Steenberge with a smile.
The most SEALS to advance to state in one season is 48 in 2008.
From regionals, the top five will advance to state in Corpus Christi in each event for swimmers ages 14 and under. While those age 15 and up do not have to qualify to compete at state, Steenberge still holds them the standard of posting qualifying times at regionals.
“I told them I’d like you guys to qualify for state, and that’s how we say it to them,” she said. “They know what that means.
“The whole concept behind that rule is to help high schools. They put that rule in place to encourage involvement among older swimmers, but I think we’re at a point where it’s no longer needed – certainly not with most of the clubs in our region.”
Region IV is largely considered the toughest in the state, and arguably the largest. Advancing to state from this region is considered a major achievement, Steenberge said.
“This region is huge. We have a lot of swimmers, and a lot of good ones,” she said. “If you come out of this region, you go to state and get in the ribbon count, that’s typically the case.”
The SEALS have some of the strongest swimmers in the region, having won 464 medals through their first four meets, including 201 gold. They have been particularly strong in relays, with 71 medals, including 39 gold.
“That’s where you score most and get the most people involved,” said Steenberge of relays.
In the regular season, the SEALS won two meets, at Weatherford and one of their own. They were second at Trophy Club and in the SEALS’ other home meet – both times to Trophy Club.
“We were really close at our meet,” said Steenberge. “I feel like we can beat them, but we definitely have to keep our heads in the game.”
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