The Bishop Lynch AquaFriars competed in the TAPPS Division I North Regional last Friday at the Mansfield ISD Pool.
The men's team finished second in the meet, their best finish since 2010. The team was led by senior Will Eckles, who won both the 500-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke. Eckles is the first gold medalist for the Friar men since 2010. Eckles got support from:
• Senior captain Eric Bray, who finished third in both the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle, both in personal best times;
• Senior Sean O'Hare, who finished second in the 200-yard freestyle in a personal best time; and
• Junior George Smith, who moves on to his first state meet, qualifying in both the 200-yard individual medley and 500-yard freestyle.
The boys were also successful in the relay events. Eckles and Smith teamed with senior Will Seidel and freshman Preston Pierce to finish third in the 200-yard medley relay, while Pierce, Bray, and O'Hare joined sophomore Joe Weber to finish fourth in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Bray, O'Hare, Weber and Eckles combined to finish third in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
The women's team also finished second in their division of the meet. The Lady Friars were led by a stirring win in the 200-yard freestyle relay, where senior Niamh Tierney and sophomore Ailish Tierney were joined by freshmen Lindsay Hudspeth and Annie Zajicek in defeating Bishop Dunne by 0.33 seconds. Individually, the Lady Friars had several performances of note:
• Ailish Tierney finished second in both the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle;
• Niamh Tierney finished second in the 50-yard freestyle and third in the 100-yard freestyle;
• Senior captain Bonnie Nolan finished second in the 100-yard backstroke and third in the 200-yard freestyle;
• Freshman Lindsay Hudspeth finished third in the 100-yard backstroke and fourth in the 200-yard individual medley; and
• Senior captain Jesseca Hageman finished fourth in the 100-yard backstroke and seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Nolan, Hageman, Hudspeth and Zajicek combined to finish fourth in the 200-yard medley relay, while Ailish and Niamh Tierney and Nolan joined junior Allison Lawrence to finish third in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
The AquaFriars move on to the TAPPS State Swim Championships on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Josh Davis Pool in San Antonio.