Swimming: Lady Eagles capture first district title

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, January 25, 2017
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Making History

MAKING HISTORY – The Decatur Lady Eagles swim team won the program’s first district title Saturday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Decatur swim program started in 2009 with a handful of swimmers competing against athletes from larger schools.

Over the past eight years, the program garnered individual league titles and qualified an athlete for state. Saturday, Decatur hit another milestone with the Lady Eagles winning the first district title.

Led by victories in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays, the Lady Eagles tallied 143 points to finish 56 ahead of Boswell for the District 6-5A title.

“It’s good to see where we came from,” said Decatur senior Allie Blevins, who was awarded a pair of gold medals and silver medals at district. “I’m proud of everyone. They’ve worked so hard.

“We were the only 4A school in the district and to get first is amazing.”

Decatur coach Brooklyn Huffman offered praise to past athletes and coaches that helped get the program to this level.

“Coach [Doris] Dennard built a great foundation for the team,” Huffman said. “For the swim team to see this success will help it continue to grow. It’s been a great four years here and I expect it to continue to get better.”


As Milly Rowden dove into the pool for the third leg of the 400 relay, the Decatur Lady Eagles found themselves nearly four seconds behind Northwest.

By the end of her first 50 yards, she shaved the deficit to a second and hit the wall for her sister, Elizabeth, to dive in just a few tenths of a second off the lead. Elizabeth Rowden pushed into the lead and brought home the 5-6A title.

“It was my last race of the day. My father had told me to swim as fast as I could,” Milly Rowden said. “It was all God.”

Elizabeth Rowden hit the wall to complete a run of 4:01.81 for the Lady Eagles team that included Allie Blevins and Jennifer Morehart. Northwest took second in 4:04.44.

“I was so motivated to win. I didn’t want to let my team down,” Elizabeth Rowden said.

Northwest changed its lineup in the relay, putting its fastest swimmers first. Blevins, who was first into the pool for Decatur, swam a 59.27 but was a few seconds behind Northwest’s Elisabeth Lalpuis – the district’s 500 champion.

“We had to play catchup the whole way,” Blevins said. “I’m very proud of the team. The relay is our favorite. We all look forward to the relay.”

Morehart was able to trim into the deficit slightly before the Rowdens completed the comeback.

Decatur also won the 200 freestyle in 1:47.88, leading wire to wire.


Decatur freshman Milly Rowden carried on a family tradition of making her way to the top of the medal stand Saturday.

Rowden won the 100 butterfly in 1:06.74 to garner the first of two individual gold medals and four on the day.

“Both of my sisters have won district titles. This means a lot,” she said.

She also won the 100 backstroke in 1:07.11.


Ethan Miles didn’t make the entry into the pool he wanted Saturday in the 50 freestyle.

After hitting the water at an awkward angle, the Decatur senior found himself playing catchup. But with a brilliant turn, he pushed ahead and edged out Boswell’s Kyler Lowery at the wall for the win in 23.95.

“It wasn’t my best moment, but I tried to make the best of it,” Miles said. “I entered the water crooked and was behind everyone.

“I felt I was strong enough to catch up. My strongest part of the race is the last 10 yards. Everyone is tired. I just keep pushing.”

The victory was Miles’ second gold medal. He led off the Eagles’ win in the 200 medley relay that included Sam Bowker, Zach Levesque and Caleb Black in 1:57.82.

“I was so happy for everybody. It was our first time getting a gold medal,” Miles said. “I was surprised. We cut three to four seconds off.”



Team: 1. Decatur 143, 2. Boswell 87, 3. Eaton 81, 4. Northwest 79, 5. Saginaw 42, 6. Chisholm Trail 41, 7. Azle 34

200 medley relay: 1. Northwest (McKenna Fish, Veronica Burgos, Elisabeth Lalpuis, Kaly Phan), 2:03.12; 3. Decatur (Milly Rowden, Jennifer Morehart, Claire Mallory, Bleu Davis), 2:07.71

200 freestyle: 1. Elisabeth Lalpuis, Northwest, 1:56.24; 2. Allie Blevins, Decatur, 2:08.09

200 individual medley: 1. Veronica Burgos, Northwest, 2:28.99; 2. Madelyn McCloud, Decatur, 2:36.03

50 freestyle: 2. Elizabeth Rowden, Decatur, 26.8; 3. Bleu Davis, Decatur, 27.44; 8. Claire Mallory, Decatur, 28.96

100 butterfly: 1. Milly Rowden, Decatur, 1:06.74; 3. Payten Tynsky, Decatur, 1:16.47; 4. Claire Mallory, Decatur, 1:16.48; 7. Chloe Wallen, Decatur, 1:28.9

100 freestyle: 2. Elizabeth Rowden, Decatur, 58.8; 6. Kaly Phan, Northwest, 1:03.26; 7. McKenna Fish, Northwest, 1:04.62

500 freestyle: 1. Elisabeth Lalpuis, Northwest, 5:10.25; 2. Allie Blevins, Decatur, 5:37.98

200 freestyle relay: 1. Decatur (Jennifer Morehart, Allie Blevins, Bleu Davis, Elizabeth Rowden), 1:47.88; 6. Northwest (McKenna Fish, Lauren Goad, Dakota Musick, Kaly Phan), 2:10.7

100 backstroke: 1. Milly Rowden, Decatur, 1:07.11; 4. Payten Tynsky, Decatur, 1:15.19; 6. Caraline Cowdrey, Decatur, 1:18.15

100 breaststroke: 1. Veronica Burgos, Northwest, 1:17.91; 3. Jennifer Morehart, Decatur, 1:20.73; 4. Bleu Davis, Decatur, 1:21.21; 6. Madelyn McCloud, Decatur, 1:24.51

400 freestyle relay: 1. Decatur (Allie Blevins, Jennifer Morehart, Milly Rowden, Elizabeth Rowden), 4:01.81; 2. Northwest (Elisabeth Lalpuis, Kaly Phan, McKenna Fish, Veronica Burgos), 4:04.44


Team: 1. Northwest 135, 2. Boswell 103, 3. Chisholm Trail 72, 4. Decatur 65, 5. Saginaw 41, 6. Eaton 37, 7. Azle 34

200 medley relay: 1. Decatur (Ethan Miles, Sam Bowker, Zach Levesque, Caleb Black), 1:57.82; 5. Northwest (Marshall Mann, Andres Gomez-Montoya, Ben Grafton, Justin Waugh), 2:05.58

200 freestyle: 2. Marshall Mann, Northwest, 2:14.38; 5. Justin Waugh, Northwest, 2:28.82

200 individual medley: 1. Ethan Sykes, Northwest, 2:11.6; 3. Zach Levesque, Decatur, 2:23.21; 5. Ben Grafton, Northwest, 2:30.24

50 freestyle: 1. Ethan Miles, Decatur, 23.95; 3. Bruce Sierra-Perez; 4. Cason Herrera, Northwest, 25.36; 7. Layton Chancellor, Decatur, 27.13

100 butterfly: 2. Ben Grafton, Northwest, 1:07.54

100 freestyle: 1. Nathan Waugh, Northwest, 51.2; 3. Bruce Sierra-Perez, Northwest, 55.75; 4. Zach Levesque, Decatur, 56.04; 7. Sam Bowker, Decatur, 58.09; 8. Marshall Mann, Northwest, 58.14

500 freestyle: 1. Ethan Sykes, Northwest, 5:17.64; 5. Justin Waugh, Northwest, 6:57.03

200 freestyle relay: 1. Northwest (Bruce Sierra-Perez, Cason Herrera, Ethan Sykes, Nathan Waugh), 1:37.17; 3. Decatur (Zach Levesque, Caleb Black, Sam Bowker, Ethan Miles), 1:42.8

100 backstroke: 1. Nathan Waugh, Northwest, 59.58; 2. Ethan Miles, Decatur, 1:00.67

100 breaststroke: 1. Cason Herrera, Northwest, 1:12.94; 6. Travis Young, Decatur, 1:20.77; 7. Andres Gomez-Montoya, Northwest, 1:25.17; 8. Caleb Black, Decatur, 1:25.72

400 freestyle relay: 1. Northwest (Ethan Sykes, Cason Herrera, Bruce Sierra-Perez, Nathan Waugh), 3:38.57

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