It has long been Ella's goal to get her own TAGS times and this year she finally did it! And not only did she get the cuts, but in multiple strokes which was so exciting! After a stressful few weeks leading up to the meet, it was nice to just sit back and enjoy the moment of being there to watch Ella compete with the best swimmers in the state of Texas (of course, I still got stressed when it was time for her to swim, but not nearly as much as when she was trying to get the times!).
TAGS is the Texas Age Group Swimming championship for swimmers 14 and under, the state championships, and the cuts to make it into the meet are HARD. All right around the USA swimming AAA cuts with most being below even those. With Texas being such a competitive swim state, just making it to this meet is impressive! Mike looked up the results from the Utah long course championships last summer and Ella would have placed 1st or 2nd in almost all her events there. Although Ella has helped relays qualify in the past this was her first year to get the cuts in her individual events. (short course times and long course times)
We headed out Wednesday afternoon to get to Austin in time for Ella to warm-up with her coach and get the feel of the pool the day before her races began. The meet was held at the University of Texas and they have a beautiful pool with plenty of seating which makes watching the meet even more fun. Our first stop once Ella finished her time in the pool was In n Out :-)!
Thursday morning we were up and headed to the pool for our first real day of the meet. Ella swam the 100 Free, 200 Fly and the 400 Medley Relay. Although she added a bit on both events it wasn't much and we still felt like it was a good start for her! Chrissy and Zach and their crew were able to come up from San Antonio to cheer her on which was so nice. Plus Addie and Preston really enjoyed getting to see their cousins! With our busy schedules we don't get to see each other nearly as much as we would like!
Coach Bailey capping her :-)
Megan and Ella being cute while Bailey talks to them
seed time: 1:05.09
this race: 1:05.51 (41st...but in the state of Texas, not too shabby)
(lane 1 at top)
One of my favorite moments was when Coach Bailey and all her buddies came to get her pumped up for her 200 Fly! We were really hoping for a PR in this event, but it was close and she placed really well still!
seed time: 2:41.11
this race: 2:41.20 (19th)
The 400 Medley relay is a long race so I didn't record it, but the girls did well overall, especially considering one of the girls who should have been on it is on vacation and didn't come to the meet.
one of my favorite swim meet pictures ever and it happened totally by accident!
that evening we went back to cheer on Megan at finals and then stopped by a Taco Bell cantina to check it out. Extra bonus was this cute wall it had!
Friday we had to be at the pool before 7am for warm-ups. We settled in excited for Ella's first breaststroke event of the meet. Brittany and James and their cute boys were able to come out and cheer with us which was so fun. On Ella's schedule Friday was 50 Breast, 100 Fly and the 400 Free relay. She did awesome on her first race, dropping time and ended up tied for 17th place. Since the top 16 make it to finals, Ella and the other girl had to have a swim-off to determine who would be first alternate and who would be 2nd alternate. Unfortunately Ella had to swim 100 Fly during the break they had before the swim-off so she was pretty tired and despite another great swim, she barely lost the swim off. Fly was just ok for her. Her shoulders have been sore all week and that hasn't helped, so we told her just to focus on her breaststroke events which were looking stronger.
so lucky I caught this moment!
They introduced all the teams that morning before the meet officially began.
seed time: 38.01
this race: 37.74 (17th in state)
seed time: 1:12.54
this race: 1:14.36 (43rd)
Getting ready for the swim-off
She had fun on the 400 relay and then we headed to a cute pizza place for lunch with all the cousins. After lunch everyone went swimming while Ella and I tried to keep her cool and rested for the final days of the meet.
That evening she and I had a girls' night which was fun. We went back to the pool for her to get a warm-up in, be ready in the one in a million shot they called her name for the 50 breast finals, and cheer on her buddy Megan in her big final. Then we headed to a cool sushi place we had heard about for a fun dinner before heading back to the hotel. I must admit I was very proud of myself for navigating around Austin (and parking our beast of a car) all on my own :-)!