Both times Dominic Toledo Sanchez hit the water for the Cedar Park relay Saturday afternoon, the team was fighting to hang on for a medal.
Both times, the Timberwolves brought home the hardware.
Toledo Sanchez, Jay Lenner, Braden Sullivan and Vladimir Ivanov won the gold medal in the boys’ 200-yard freestyle relay at the Swimming & Diving State Meet on Saturday. Lenner, Sullivan, Sean Cookson and Toledo Sanchez won silver in the boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay.
“It definitely makes it more challenging to have to catch them up,” Toledo Sanchez said. “But it helps me push myself more because I know who I need to go after and how much ground I need to make up.”
Toledo Sanchez swam the first 200-yard anchor leg in 20.48 seconds to clinch the state title. He swam the 400-yard anchor leg in 44.74. Both marks were more than a second faster than anyone else on his team.
None of his teammates seemed too stressed when the junior hit the pool.
“I’m pretty confident in Dom’s ability to bring back the relay,” Lenner said.
Toledo Sanchez swam in two other championship finals at the meet, finishing sixth (51.09) in the 100-yard backstroke and fourth (46.04) in the 100-yard freestyle.
His time in the 100-yard freestyle was .34 seconds slower than his time in the prelims and he missed the podium by just over half a second.
“I was really disappointed,” Toledo Sanchez said. “But then my whole team tried to bring me back up and just tried to get me through the rest of the meet and that helped a lot. It did make me upset, but everybody there picking me up, it was really helpful.”
On top of winning a pair of team medals, Lenner, competing in his last high school meet, finished eighth in the boys’ 50-yard freestyle sprint with a time of 21.82 and finished 11th overall after the boys’ 100-yard freestyle consolation final.
“I just wanted to leave with some good times and some medals,” Lenner said. “I learned you can always push a little bit more. You’ve just got to wait for it and try hard enough and you can always get better.”
Cedar Park finished sixth overall in the boys’ team competition.
“It makes me feel accomplished because I know I put in a lot of work and so has the rest of the team,” Toledo Sanchez said. “It shows we’ve all done the best we possibly can and we’ve succeeded in that.”
In the first event of the day, the girls’ medley relay team of Addison Levitt, Lauren Partridge, Kelly Digby and Sophia Roach finished 4th in the state with a time of 1:50.29, cutting nearly a second off their prelim time.
They missed out on the bronze medal by one-hundredth of a second.
“We were so excited,” Partridge said. “And it’s my senior year so it’s a bittersweet moment.”
Roach, Riley Barrage, Bella Gamez, Bella Zapata came in 6th place in the state the girls’ 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:40.98.
Zapata continued the time-cutting trend, slashing 1.61 seconds off her prelim time and finished the girls’ 200-yard IM in 2:13.15 for a 14th place spot in the consolation final. She added a 15th place finish in the girls’ 100-yard backstroke to her resume later in the meet, finishing in 1:00.86.
Digby came in 12th (59.86) overall in the 100-yard butterfly after the consolation finals.
Partridge capped off the girls’ individual events with a fifth-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Partridge swam at the state meet with Cedar Park as a freshman and sophomore but took her junior year off of swimming in high school. She said she plans to swim in college, but is undecided as to where and hopes to sign during the spring period on April 12.
“Coming here, there’s music and the energy and it’s the state meet and it’s different,” Partridge said. “The last three years of the high school team, I’m going to miss it a lot."