Dragon Swimming Makes History

After a district title and a state champion, Dragon swimming puts themselves back on the map.


Brandon Le

Round Rock swim team celebrates after boys win the district title and girl win runner up.

People often associate the months of January and February with cold weather and Valentine’s Day, but for swimmers, it represents championship season. This period of one and a half months gives swimmers the opportunity to post best times, set school records, and win championships.

Round Rock checked all of those boxes.

The men’s team made history when they brought home the district title for the first time in 20 years while the girls had a strong showing finishing second behind Vandegrift. Overall, Round Rock is making a name for themselves as one of the elite central Texas swim teams.

“It was an amazing opportunity to get to swim one last time for my school,” senior captain Demi Waworuntu said. “It was incredible to get to swim at the highest level one last time with my best friends. Getting to see all nine seniors swim fast and cheer each other on was super special.”

State was the goal for the Dragons, but first Dragon Swimming took on district. With fierce competition from longtime district-rival Westwood and district-newcomer Vandegrift, Round Rock needed everyone to be at the top of their game. Coming into the day Round Rock was projected as an underdog to win the district title, but as the meet went on, that goal became a possible reality. Behind big swims from Adam Haig, Blake Ellinor, Vincent Ribeiro, Jack Hansen, Marco Vujosevic, Justin Phillips, Tristan Olstad, and Scott Roberson, the men’s swim team captured their first district title in 20 years, the first one under Coach Tom Arredondo. The Dragons snapped Westwood’s streak of winning district by a score of 139-103.

“It’s been too long since we last won a title,” senior captain Blake Ellinor said. “This being my last year on the swim team, winning that title was the capstone of my senior season. I hope the classes below can remember this experience and carry it on.”

The Lady Dragons also made quite a splash at district. While Round Rock lost a big part of their core group from last year’s state run, it did not seem to affect them a ton this year. Despite a numerous amount of great swims from Waworuntu, Sara Rattray, Elise Johnson, Melissa Bartlett, Karen Yin, and Annie Yang, the women’s swim team fell short to Vandegrift 156-124.

“My last district meet was super special,” Rattray said. “I had so many different feelings rushing through me, but in the end I just wanted to push myself and see how far I could go.”

The guys continued their historic hot streak at regionals, not slowing down for anyone. The men’s team finished second behind Austin powerhouse Westlake. Round Rock’s big focus of the season has been unifying the whole team and swimming to their potential, and it showed up at the Regional level. Ellinor provided a much needed boost for the team when he broke the 500 freestyle record with a time of 4:37.59 in prelims, and then went on to finish fifth in the A final. Vincent Ribeiro qualified for state individually for the third year in a row coming in first in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM while Haig punched his individual ticket to state in the 100 backstroke. The 200 IM relay took first, the 200 free relay took third, and the 400 freestyle relay took fourth. Under UIL rules, the teams that place first and second are guaranteed a spot at state, while third place and below can be called up to state if their time is next fastest.  After much anticipation, UIL swimming called up both the 400 freestyle relay and the 200 freestyle relay. This was the first time since 2008 that all three guys relays were headed to state. Round Rock guy’s team sent eight total swimmers, the most in over 15 years.

“Getting first on the 200 IM relay on my birthday was such a memorable moment,” senior captain Jack Hansen said. “It was special to get to help my teammates move onto state. It was an incredible way to end my high school swim career at regionals.”

While the guys took home a lot of hardware, the girls did as well. Finishing fifth overall, the girls swim team sent eight swimmers to state. Sophomore Karen Yin qualified for her first ever individual event in the 200 freestyle while junior Audrey Dieckert qualified for her first time as well in the 100 butterfly. The girls swim team also got the 400 freestyle relay and 200 IM relay to state for the third year in a row. The women’s team advanced to state for their fifth consecutive year continuing the dominating legacy of Round Rock Lady Dragons swimming.

“My favorite part of this team has to be the family bond we have forged over four years,” Johnson said. “This year being the last run to state was very emotional, but it was very special getting to share it with my fellow seniors. I’ve loved every moment of swimming for Round Rock.”

Dragon swimming finished off their historic season swimming their very best at the state championship meet. The podium is a familiar place to Ribeiro and he got to visit once again. Ribeiro finished second in the 100 breaststroke and took home first place in the 200 IM. He is the first state champion from Round Rock High School since Dax Hill took gold in the 2009 season. Adam Haig finished third in the 100 backstroke for his first ever podium finish at state. The guys 200 freestyle relay finished eighth in the state while the girls 200 IM relay finished 10th.

“Winning an individual title at state was incredible, but that was not even the best part,” Ribeiro said. “I took more pride in getting to represent Round Rock at the highest level. My goal was and still is to help Round Rock return to being a central Texas swim powerhouse, and the state meet this past weekend was a step in the right direction.”