Lee Seniors Meredith Oliver, Sam Lewis Named 5A Region III Swimmers of the Year
MANSFIELD — It was the final time for Robert E. Lee seniors Meredith Oliver and Sam Lewis to display their prowess at the Class 5A Region III swim meet and neither disappointed. Oliver won the 200 and 100 freestyle with Lewis wining the 200 and 500 freestyle. Lewis broke the pool record in 500.
Both earned trips to the state tournament in their events and were named Region III Swimmer of the Year Saturday afternoon at Mansfield ISD Natatorium.
It is the fourth year in a row for Oliver, a Texas A&M signee, to receive the honor while Lewis, a University of Texas signee, is getting it a third time.
They will be joined in Austin at the state meet by senior Michael Quam and the Lee boys 400-yard freestyle relay team of Lewis, Jack Oliver, Stephan Umierski and David Hudson.
Only the first place finisher in Saturday’s regional finals earned an automatic qualifying spot.
“I am real happy for Sam and Meredith,” said Lee coach Matt Franks. “They came in with a clear goal of wanting to win their event and help the team to get the relays out (to state). They were outstanding bringing the relays home; Meredith to help the girls medal and Sam to help the boys qualify (for state).
The Lady Raiders, as a team, were third, with the Red Raiders finishing fourth. The Lee boys were two-time defending regional champions, but coach Matt Franks said with the youth on REL’s team, a top 5 finish is good to build on.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Franks said. “Coming off last year, anything short of (repeating) would feel like some sort of let down, but given the youth on the team and how many made (finals), it was an unbelievable job.”
Oliver won the 200 freestyle in a time of 1:49.95, blowing away the competition by five seconds. In the 100 freestyle, Oliver finished in a time of 51.03, again outclassing the competition by over a second.
Pacing the girls to a third-place were strong individual performances from seniors Lexi LaMott and Samantha Michaelsen. LaMott was fifth in the 100 freestyle with Michaelsen finishing on the podium in third place in the 100 backstroke. Also making the finals for the Lee girls were Lauren Lewis (seventh in 200 and 500 freestyle) and Emily Stanford (seventh in 100 breaststroke).
The girls took third place in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays and were fifth in the medley relay.
On the boys’ side of things, Lewis won the 200 freestyle in a time of 1:40.53, defeating the field by two seconds. For an encore, Lewis broke the pool record in the 500 meters, finishing in a time of 4:29.86.
Quam made sure he would compete at regionals a fourth-straight year by taking first in the 100 freestyle in 47.85. Quam won by three-tenths of a second.
Also competing in the finals for boys were Jack Oliver and David Hudson. Oliver made the podium by finishing third in the 200 individual medley with Hudson posting a fourth-place finish in 200 IM and fifth in 200 backstroke.
The boys 400 freestyle relay team capped a strong day by a young Red Raiders squad, winning the event in a time of 3:14.15 to outpace the field by almost five seconds.
Next up for Lee is the Class 5A state meet later this month in Austin.
“The way UIL has state qualifying set up really makes it a task because you have to be perfect,” Franks said. “You have to be on your game (both days) and you can’t say enough about how tough our region was. The other teams pushed us to the brink, but our swimmers showed a championship mindset.”