The Gilmer junior had just tied his nemesis, Matt Cox of Texarkana, for second place at the UIL State Meet in the 200 freestyle in 1:40.22. They trailed the winner, Luke Shaw of Alamo Heights, by 1.61 seconds.
“He was a beast,” Koudelka told The Mirror after the meet. “He did not have any kick; he did it with his arms.”
The winner in both the 200 and 500 freestyle, Shaw competed in Class 5A last year. In the 500 freestyle, he beat Koudelka by 8.56 seconds and by 1.61 in the 200.
“I led for the first 200 yards in the 500, but then I was dead,” the Buckeye swimmer said as he evaluated his second race.
After opening with laps of 28.06 and 28.36, he slowed to 29.06 before finishing with a 26.58 to touch in fourth place. The 4:38.44 finish was a personal best in the 500 freestyle.
The 200 freestyle was also a personal best. Both events qualified the Buckeye swimmer to attend the junior nationals in August in Stanford, something the family is debating.
But first, there are the sectionals, a swim meet in College Station the first weekend in March for the young man who swims a few miles each week as he seeks gold at the end of the pool.