Tyler Lee is sending not one, but two swimmers to the UIL Swimming & Diving State Meet on Friday and Saturday in Austin.
Juniors Caroline Richbourg and Chase Fields will represent Lee in the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, and both swimmers will compete in the 100 butterfly.
Richbourg qualified for the state meet by placing second in the event at the Class 6A Region III Swimming & Diving Meet at Mansfield ISD’s Debbie Weems Natatorium with a time of 57.05, which broke her own school record.
“I was incredibly excited, because it’s been a goal of mine for a long time,” Richbourg said. “I’ve come close to making call-ups before, but I had never been that close to second place.”
“She’s been swimming since she was a little kid, so there’s been a lot of time, effort and years of training behind this,” Lee swimming coach Jason Petty said. “When she broke the school record for the first time as a sophomore, we knew she had the potential to be really good. She’s continued to get a little better each time, and we knew it was her goal to make it to state.”
Fields placed fourth at the regional meet with a time of 50.78, which didn’t automatically qualify him for state, but Fields’ time was good enough to earn a call-up to the state meet.
“When I finished the race, we had a good idea I might make it because our region is pretty quick compared to the other regions, but seeing it for sure on the website was insane,” Field said.
“The thing about Chase is we would have said his best shot was in the 500 free, because he’s really good at the long-distance events,” Petty said. “When he swam the 50-point whatever in the fly and put himself in a strong position, we realized he had a shot to go in that event as well. He just missed in the 500 by like a tenth of a second.”
Fields said he went to the state meet last season to watch his teammate Carey Clark compete. He said seeing the environment definitely motivated him to work harder.
There will be 24 swimmers competing in Friday’s preliminaries, and the top 16 in each event will advance to Saturday’s finals.
Richbourg said her goal is to make the finals and swim faster than 57 seconds.
Fields also wants to advance to the finals and is aiming for a time faster than 50 seconds.
“I think our challenge is to keep them relaxed in the moment and focused on what they’re doing,” Petty said. “They normally have several events, so it will be different for them to only have to focus on one race.”