(Orange, Texas)

February 1, 2014

Lady Pirates earn third straight district swim title

Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader

BEAUMONT — The Vidor Lady Pirates made it a three-peat on Thursday night claiming another district swim title.

The Lady Pirates swim team of Vidor High School won its third consecutive District 22-4A crown Thursday night at the district championship swim meet at the Beaumont ISD Natatorium at the Carroll “Butch” Thomas Education Support Center. The Lady Pirates outpaced the Nederland Lady Bulldogs down the stretch to claim the title by 19 points.

The Vidor boys swim team fell short of defending its title as district champs as perennial power Nederland reclaimed the team championship, 155-81.

The evening began with the Lady Pirates 200 Yard Medley Relay team of Gaby Duke, Carly Bessire, Jade Elder and Tia LaForge placing second with a time of 2:27.34, while the boys team of Eddie Dyess, Lawson Flores, Hunter Heidleberg and Dylan Schlechta finished in second with a time of 2:04.65.

In the Girls 200 yard freestyle, Vidor swimmers Paityn Warwick and Gaby Duke claimed second and third places, respectively. Warwick finished with a time of 2:55.44, good enough for the silver medal, and Duke won the bronze with a time of 3:01.44. In the boys division, Lawson Flores of Vidor grabbed silver with a second place finish in 2:58.79.

The sole Little Cypress-Mauriceville girls swimmer, Savannah Sheppard, made her presence known in both individual events on Thursday. In the Girls 200 Yard Individual Medley, Sheppard outpaced the field for the gold medal and title of district champion in 2:57.68. Tia LaForge of Vidor placed second with a time of 3:19.70. In the boys bracket, Vidor’s Dylan Schlechta finished in fourth place with a time of 3:13.94.

The most competitive event of any swim meet are the sprint races, which includes the 50 yard freestyle. In the girls division, Jade Elder of Vidor finished in fourth place in 32.06 seconds, while teammate Shae Phillips placed eighth with a time of 38.61 seconds. In the boys bracket, Hunter Heidleberg of Vidor finished in fourth place in 27.93 seconds.

With the first-half of the championship meet completed, the Lady Pirates took control of the remaining individual races by winning four gold medals. To go with those four gold medals, overall, the Lady Pirates also brought home two silver medals and three bronze medals and two team silver medals.

Vidor swimmer Jade Elder set the pace for the girls with a gold medal in the 100 Yard butterfly event with a time of 1:44.15. In the boys race, Vidor used a one-two punch as Hunter Heidleberg roared to victory with a time of 1:11.31. He was followed by teammate Lawson Flores who finished second in 1:32.05.

Savannah Sheppard, who is a senior at LC-M and swimming in her final district meet, narrowly missed out on a second gold medal as she finished in second place in the Girls 100 Yard Freestyle with a time of 1:09.34. Tia LaForge of Vidor placed third in 1:15.44, and Paityn Warwick of Vidor was fifth in 1:18.77.

The sprint races provide a lot of action, but the distance races are a test of determination and stamina. In the Girls 500 Yard Freestyle, the longest distance race of the night, Gaby Duke of Vidor won the gold medal in 7:52.97.

The Vidor Girls 200 Yard Freestyle relay team of Tia LaForge, Paityn Warwick, Shae Phillips and Jade Elder finished in second place, and won another silver medal, with a time of 2:23.17. In the boys bracket, the Vidor relay team of Hunter Heidleberg, Lawson Flores, Dylan Schlechta and Eddie Dyess missed out on the gold medal by a body length with a time of 1:54.79.

Vidor sophomore Carly Bessire won the first of her two individual gold medals on the night with a victory in the Girls 100 Yard Backstroke in 1:06.88, more than 10 seconds ahead of the runner-up. In the boys bracket, Eddie Dyess of Vidor narrowly missed out on gold by a fingertip with a second place finish in 1:03.62. Connor Alexander of LC-M, the first boy swimmer to represent the school in approximately four years, placed third in 1:09.16.

Vidor’s Carly Bessire added her second gold medal with a win in the Girls 100 Yard Breaststroke with a time of 1:21.35. Shae Phillips of Vidor placed third with a time of 1:58.96.

In the boys bracket, Eddie Dyess of Vidor powered his way to the gold medal with a time of 1:13.58, just ahead of LC-M swimmer Connor Alexander who claimed the silver medal in 1:22.40. Dylan Schlechta of Vidor finished fifth in 1:35.03.

The Vidor and LC-M swim teams will travel to the greater Houston-area for the Region 6 swim contest in Sugarland, Texas, on Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8.