Taking on the state’s best, girls’ swim finishes 12th


Matt Swinnea

Swim and dive head into their second meet of the school year against Heritage, Centennial, and Independence Tuesday. “I feel really great going into this season,” head swim coach Zachariah Gnoza said.

Addyson Schick, Assistant Sports Editor

Four Redhawk swimmers, Izabella Oushalkas, Zoe Schneider, Avery Langan, and Maria Oushalkas, traveled to the UIL 5A State Meet on Friday and Saturday, finishing 12th overall out of 63 teams.

“I am most proud of the team becoming a team,” head swim coach Zachariah Gnoza said.   “Swimming is considered an individual sport. However, competing at a high school level, I watched the kids come together, bond, and rely on one another to keep them going throughout the season and become an actual team.”

In her first state competition, freshman Bella Oushlakas was the only Redhawk to medal, placing second overall in the 100 backstroke.

“Considering it was my first state meet, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Bella said. “I went into finals and placed fourth and just wanted to have fun on Saturday and see what I could do. When I realized that I had gotten second, I was super excited and smiley. It never really crossed my mind that I placed as a freshman.”

Sister, senior Maria Oushlakas, placed fourth in the 200 freestyle and sixth in the 100 butterfly.

“I am disappointed with my performance since I know I had more in me, and I made mistakes that cost me a medal,” Maria said. “Although my results weren’t what I was looking for, I am still proud. I’ve made it to top eight all four years in the 200 free, and every year I’ve gotten closer to medaling. I am sad it is over since I loved being a part of such an amazing familial team, but I got to end it with a relay I’m lucky to have been a part of.”

Both girls also competed in the 400 freestyle relay, placing 11th, and in the medley relay, finishing ninth along with their two other teammates.

“As a team, we were good and worked together through everything,” freshman Zoe Schneider said. “I am very proud of making it to state with all the hard work we’ve put in this season. I’m sad we didn’t break any more school records or place top three in our relays, but it was still a great accomplishment.”

With state now over, the swim and dive season has come to an end.

“Overall, the season went really well, and we had quite a few accomplishments throughout the season,” Gnoza said. “Multiple personal best times and even a few school records were broken. We still have room to grow and learn and, hopefully, come back stronger next year.”