“GOOOOOOO!” When you hear the yell, you know St. John’s is in the pool. At every meet it’s there, and at the SPC Swimming and Diving Championships the volume got a little higher, especially during the last two races of the day, the 400 yard relays. Assistant Coach Richard Butler is the man behind the voice. Sometimes there is a pause, but only when the Mavericks are out of the water. At the 2020 SPC Championships the Mavericks gave him plenty to yell for as the Girls’ won their third consecutive title and the Boys’ finished runner-up.
The Lewisville Westside Aquatic Center, northwest of Dallas, and sandwiched between Grapevine Lake and Lake Lewisville, is familiar waters for the St. John’s Mavericks Swimming & Diving teams. The Mavericks were here over a month ago at the Kyle Tilley Invitational, a meet which included a handful of SPC schools in addition to 6A school teams. The Boys won the meet and the Girls finished second. The Mavericks’ Boys and Girls teams also won the 2020 SPC South Zone held two weeks later in Houston. Today at the 2020 SPC championships St. John’s wouldn’t see any 6A competition, but there was plenty to ponder with the full fleet of SPC teams in attendance.
After 13 events the Maverick Boys team was in fourth place and the Girls were in second, but when the diving results were tallied both teams jumped to first.
Cai Flowers ’21 finished second in the Girls’ 1M Diving for 7 points and Kate Willey ’22 finished seventh for 2 more points. Pete Curtis ’22 won the Boys’ 1M Diving, scoring 9 points on one of his bests performances on the board.
“It went pretty well today,” said Curtis. “I was excited to get into the water and try some of my new dives. It was a good meet overall.”
“Every event will be a factor, and every point will matter.” said assistant coach Evelina Skaribas.
Through 15 events St. John’s Girls’ built a 17 point lead over second place Kinkaid, while the Boys’ team was also in first place just ahead of St. Mark’s 44-39.
The seed times listed for the SPC girls teams favored the Mavericks to win their third consecutive SPC title. The SJS Boys’ team would need everyone to contribute to have a chance for a second title in the last three years. The Boys’ finished runner-up last season, just behind John Cooper. The year prior they defeated St. Mark’s, a perennial powerhouse in the conference. Head Coach Ron Raper knew what was in store for the day.
“It’s very exciting and just so competitive,” said Raper, who began his 50-year coaching career down the road at Dallas Carter High School. “Since I have been at St. John’s, SPC (swimming) has been faster and faster every year. You got to stay up with it too!”
With 18 events completed and six to go, St. John’s was still ahead (SJS Girls 93, Kinkaid 78, Hockaday 77); (SJS Boys 64, St. Mark’s 57, Kinkaid 54).
Points are awarded for first through eighth place. Relay scores count double. Through event #20 St. John’s Boys increased their lead to 11 points ahead of Kinkaid and St. Mark’s (59). The Girls stood at 104 18 points ahead of Hockaday. After the next two races the Girls led 114 to 91 over the Falcons. The Boys however, were eclipsed by St. Mark’s 78-76 after the 100 yard breaststroke. The last even of the day, the 400 yard freestyle relay, was their last chance to catch St. Mark’s. They finished fourth in the race (two spots behind the Lions), and for the second year in a row ,the Boys’ team claimed runner-up. St. Mark’s won the title making three different champions in the last three years. The Girls finished second in the relay and picked up 14 more points to put a stamp on their third SPC championship in a row, winning 128 to 106 over second-place Hockaday.
“I’m so happy to have this experience at St. John’s,” said Katie Shelburne ’20, after her last swimming meet as a Maverick.
“I’m pumped as I was as a freshman and training for next year starts now,” said Ainsley Dodson ’21.
Sam Chambers ‘77 – Athletic News