AUSTIN – By winning silver medals in two events, Rockwall High School’s Raena Eldridge earned All-American recognition at Friday’s and Saturday’s 2013 5A UIL Swimming & Diving Championships at the Lee and Joe Jamail Swim Center at the University of Texas.
She is the first Rockwall High School athlete to become an All-American in swimming and diving.
Eldridge placed 2nd in her signature 50-meter Freestyle event, with a time of 23.43 seconds. Raquel Grays of San Antonio Johnson out-touched Eldridge by just 0.06 seconds.
She also finished second in the 100-meter backstroke, with a time of 56.51 seconds, finishing seven places better than her ninth place seeding coming into the state competition. She was defeated by Laura Norman of Keller High School.
Haylie Harbin, the Rockwall High School record holder in the 500-meter freestyle, also placed 14th with a time of 5:06.16 in the event.
After the meet, Eldridge explained she was pleased with her efforts but wished she could have brought home gold.
“This may not have been the fastest meet I’ve competed in, but in terms of intensity and pressure, it was at the top of the list for me since I was representing my school and didn’t want to let them down,” she said.
“I wish I could have brought home gold, and falling short by 0.06 seconds is tough but, overall, I am pleased with both of my swims and know I can do even better next year.”
Rockwall High swimming coach Paul Wallace was enthused with both girls’ results.
“Sending two athletes to State in our first year as 5A was in itself a significant achievement, considering we only sent one athlete last year in the smaller 4A division,” said Wallace. “But, bringing home two silver medals attests to the rapidly emerging aquatics program in Rockwall and the hundreds of hours these girls have put into training.”
By J.J. Smith, Publisher