Vincent Ribeiro used his last few freestyle strokes to turn last year’s bronze into gold Saturday morning.
The Round Rock junior owns the state title in the 200-yard individual medley at the UIL State Swimming at Diving Meet and finished the event with a pair of medals after taking silver in the 100-yard breaststroke.
“This is something I’ve been looking forward to all year, and to see it finally pay off is one for the books,” Ribeiro said. “At the end, I just put my head down. You have nothing to lose except for maybe your breath.”
His Round Rock teammate and fellow junior Adam Haig bested his prelim time by nearly a second and won the bronze medal in the boys’ 100-yard backstroke with a time of 49.30 seconds.
Westwood sophomore KyAnh Truong took home a bronze medal in the girls’ 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.85 seconds.
The Dragons were a little bummed after prelims on Friday, where the boys’ 200-yard medley relay was disqualified, but it didn’t take long for the mood to quickly shift when Ribeiro hit the water in the sixth event of the morning.
“We had some great swims today, and we were able to bounce back from yesterday and finish the season strong,” Round Rock swim coach Tom Arredondo said.
Ribeiro competed in three events during the finals on Saturday, the most of any Dragon swimmer.
Arredondo said even if he gets tired a little quicker due to his high workload, the junior expects to be in contention in every event he enters.
“That’s the expectation he’s set for himself and the team,” Arredondo said. “He’s going to excel in the individual events, but he’s going to contribute to the overall success of the team. It’s a lot, but he’s determined and a fantastic swimmer.”
This year’s time (1:47.98) in the 200-yard IM was more than two seconds quicker than his third-place finish (1:50.07) from last season.
“I just went for it,” Ribeiro said. “I just knew my competition and I knew who I was racing. “Last year, the guys were big and this year, the competition was really close. It was just another year of growing and getting stronger. What I’ve been doing for the past year has been working for me.”
Vista Ridge junior Bryce Flynn finished 17th in the 200-yard freestyle and 16th in the 500-yard freestyle, finishing in 4:37.72 during the consolation finals on Saturday morning.
After winning the district and putting in a strong showing at regionals Vandegrift had four individuals and five relays at the meet. Senior Kevin Hammer and Julianna Birlin were each competing at the state meet for the fourth time in their high school careers.
Hammer finished 5th in the 50-freestyle — one place better than he did last year — and took 12th in the 100-yard freestyle while Birlin finished 11th in the 100-yard freestyle and knocked nearly a second off her prelim time to finish 14th in the 200-yard individual medley.
“Finals were about coming back and giving it everything I have left,” Birlin said. “Swimming is so focused on time, that when you take a step back to think about why you do this and why you swim, it becomes so much easier to get out of your head.”
Elsewhere for the Vipers, Julia York finished 15th in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:06.62, the girls’ 200-yard freestyle relay finished 11th and the boys’ 20-yard freestyle relay finished in 18th.
“I was focused more on having fun and enjoying the last time here,” Hammer said.