Austin ISD athletes are aiming to make a splash when the 2019 University Interscholastic League swimming and diving state meet convenes at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center on Friday.
More than 25 AISD swimmers have qualified for the Class 5A and 6A competitions, one of them being perennial qualifier Ella Collins, a senior representing Anderson High.
Collins is making her fourth and final appearance at the state level, and said she believes the experience will pay off on the big stage.
“Having gone to state since my freshman year has helped prepared me for my final year by giving me a good sense of my competition and a new feeling of confidence,” she said.
Collins, who has committed to continue her swimming career at the University of Virginia, enters the meet as the two-time defending champion, ranked No. 1 in the 100-yard freestyle and ranked second in the 200-yard freestyle.
“Ella is a natural competitor and talent,” Anderson Head Swimming Coach Kevin Bell said. “She has put in the time and hard work to get where she is.”
Not only has Collins succeeded on an individual level, Bell said, but she is also an inspirational leader for her teammates.
“Ella helps those around her to see what is possible when you put in the time to better yourself as an athlete," Bell said. "Through her sheer talent, she naturally sets the bar high and gives the team something to aspire to."
In addition to Collins, the LBJ ECHS girls’ team ended a drought by clinching the Region V-5A championship for the first time in nine years. The LBJ girls’ 200-yard freestyle relay team also qualified in the top spot.
Junior Avi Longi, who earned Athlete of the Meet honors at the regional meet, is the top seed in the 50-yard freestyle event. Her teammate Willa Scanlon enters the 1-meter diving competition as the top seed after she claimed the regional championship.
Competition begins at 10 a.m. Friday, with Class 6A preliminary events and Class 5A preliminary events beginning at 5:30 p.m. Finals for 6A are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. while 5A starts at 3:30 p.m.
For more information, including results and schedules, visit uiltexas.org/swimming-diving/state.