Competition, appreciation, humor displayed at CHS swim team’s Vaquero Battle (with video)

Sally Parampottil


Stephanie Alvarez

Coppell High School swimmers junior Aurelie Migualt, sophomore Shreya Tirumala and junior Reesha Goes go head to head in the girls 50 yard backstroke finals. Migault ended with a time of 28.87 winning 1st place, Tirumala ended with a time of 29.02 placing 2nd and Goes finished with a time of 31.04 placing third place.

Sally Parampottil, Staff Writer

Coppell High School’s swim team sent waves throughout both the pool and the crowds during their first intrasquad meet of the season at the Coppell YMCA. Parents and students spent the latter part of their Friday afternoon experiencing the competition, support and enthusiasm displayed by the swimmers.


There were five events for boys and girls each: the 50-yard breaststroke, the 25-yard underwater dolphin kick, the 100-yard freestyle, the 50-yard butterfly and the 50-yard backstroke. After back to back heats, the finals consisted of the three fastest seed times with the exception of the dolphin kick, which had six swimmers per race.


“There were many new best times [at this meet],” CHS swim coach Marieke Mastebroek said. “They put in the work at practice and it’s coming out.”


Junior Johan Pretorius, the only CHS swimmer who went to state last year, won four of the five boys events, with the exception of the breaststroke, which was claimed by senior Emil Aaltonen. Junior Aurelie Migualt won all five of the girls events.


With every single race, the team on the benches and sidelines as well as friends and families in the stands showed their engagement and support for the athletes.


“All of our team was having fun,” Pretorius said. “We all cheered each other on, it was a great battle between us and it was just great team atmosphere.”  


The entire meet did not consist of the five events alone; small entertaining segments broke up the otherwise continuous flow of races.


The first of these was the special feature of the event: teacher appreciation. Multiple teachers were invited and served food in the lobby of the YMCA. After the underwater dolphin kick, teachers were lined up along one side of the pool and each given a rubber duck with a number on the bottom. They were to aim at a target inside the pool and the closest duck would win a Starbucks gift card, a prize which ended up going to chemistry teacher Susan Sheppard.


The second was a staged argument between three swimmers and three football players, leading to a best-of-three race, each swimmer facing one football player. While the football players could swim as they pleased, the swimmers were only allowed to use their legs to complete their lap. Despite this, the swimmers won all three races and the football players were left with consolatory peppermints.


The final segment, taking place before the two backstroke events that would conclude the night, was a “one-on-one duel” between senior captain and long distance swimmer Matthew Rodman and sophomore short distance swimmer Ivan Lau. They were to swim a 20-lap, 500 freestyle, with Lau taking an expected early lead. That lead decreased steadily until it was neck and neck between the two swimmers. In the end, Lau just barely beat Rodman for the win.

Stephanie Alvarez
Coppell High School sophomore Ivan Lau swims in the 50 yard backstroke with a final time of 28.43, being only .03 seconds away from beating his seed time of 28.4. Lau ended up losing to junior Johan Pretorius, who had a time of 25.59.


Throughout the afternoon, a passion for the sport was exhibited. It was shown through the determination of the swimmers as they competed, through the spirit of their teammates as they cheered from the sides and through the encouragement of the audience as they did the same.


“With people cheering each other on, it was really good for the team,” Rodman said. “I want to thank everyone for coming out here. It was fun, hopefully we get to do this again.”


While the ripples of the pool will fade away and the water will go still, the vibrant memories of this event are likely to last in the minds of the swimmers, the coaches and the crowds alike.


The swim team will have two more intrasquad events later this season. They will next compete at the Northeast TISCA Invite in Texarkana on Friday and Saturday.