SWIMMING AND DIVING: Region I-4A notebook
Feb 09, 2013 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
NATIVIDAD GETS REDEMPTION IN DIVING: -- Anthony Natividad earned the right to compete in the UIL Swimming & Diving State Championships last year, but he didn't earn good enough grades.
Natividad finished second behind Pecos teammate Gregory Roman in last year's Region I-4A diving competition, which qualified him for the state meet, but he became academically ineligible before making it to Austin two weeks later.
Now a senior, Natividad nabbed another state berth by winning his first regional diving title Thursday with a score of 353.75 points at the Andrews Natatorium. And this time, he has no concerns about being able to compete Feb. 22-23 on the University of Texas campus.
"I'm safe now. We made sure of that," Natividad said with a grin. "We checked like 10 times. We're good."
Natividad, who today will try to advance to state in an individual swimming event and two relays, nearly had a family member join him as a state diving qualifier. His cousin, sophomore Jacob Natividad, came within three points of snagging the second state berth.
Jacob Natividad posted a score of 339.20. He finished a hair behind second-place Ryan Williams of Lubbock Monterey, whose score was 341.80.
"Jacob had him going into that last dive," Anthony Natividad said. "But the other dude's dive was harder, and he nailed it. It's kind of a disappointing, but what can we do "
As the older cousin knows, there's always next year.
--PEREA PRIMED: A year ago, Damian Perea won regional titles in two individual swimming events despite not being seeded first in either entering the meet.
The Pecos senior was the top seed in both events entering this year's Region I-4A meet, and he proved why Friday afternoon. Perea posted the fastest preliminary times in the boys 50-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly, which had him feeling good entering today's finals.
"I know I have competition, but it's little bit of extra confidence," Perea said. "I know that I got more to give tomorrow."
Along with winning, Perea said his goal today is to be named the regional swimmer of the year for the second year in a row. He said he hopes to break the regional record in the 50 -- the time of 21.69 seconds was set by Pecos' Kevin Bates in 2000 -- and in the butterfly he's gunning for the regional record of 52.27 and the Andrews Natatorium mark of 51.78.
"It's my senior year, so I want to give it all I got," Perea said. "I want to go out with a bang."
--RIGHT WHERE SHE WANTS TO BE: Greenwood's Alyson Drennan came close to sweeping the sprint events at last year's Region I-4A meet. Then a freshman, she won the 50 freestyle and placed second in the 100 by a margin of .01 seconds.
Drennan said her goal this year is to qualify for the state meet in both events, and she was seeded first in both entering the regional competition. But she found out Friday that she might have some stiff competition in today's final races.
Drennan's preliminary time in the 50 was second behind Lubbock High's Lindsay Lampkin, and two other swimmers posted faster times in the 100. Drennan didn't sound at all discouraged after her swims, though.
"I was kind of wishing to go a little bit faster, but it is just Day 1," Drennan said. "Really the goal at prelims, for me, is just to make finals. You've just got to slide in. And tomorrow it's to win."
--TOUGH LESSON: The Pecos boys, who have won six regional team titles in a row, knew they would have tougher competition this year. Amarillo High, Lubbock High and Lubbock Monterey dropped down from Class 5A to 4A, and Lubbock High ended the Eagles' streak of 14 consecutive district titles two weeks ago.
Pecos got a dose of that difficulty during Friday's regional preliminaries, narrowly missing out on the final heat in two events. Senior Bradley Shaw had the ninth-best time in the 100 backstroke -- the top eight qualify for the final, and the next eight compete in the consolation race -- and junior Richard Sanchez was ninth in the 100 breaststroke.
"Like I told the ones that didn't get in, prove yourself in consolation and get the fastest time," longtime Pecos coach Terri Morse said. "That's all you can do."
Not making the backstroke final was especially disappointing for Shaw, who was the regional runner-up in the event last year. But all is not lost for the quarterback of the Pecos football team, who still has a chance to earn at least one state berth.
Shaw qualified for the final heat in his other individual event, the 200 individual medley, and leads off the Eagles' 200 medley relay that posted the fastest preliminary time Friday.
"All in all, it was a good day, I guess," Morse said. "It's a fast meet."
Contact Adam Zuvanich on twitter @OAzuvanich, on Facebook at OA Adam Zuvanich or call 432-333-7649.
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