For the first time since 2016, El Campo had a male swimmer competing in the state swim meet, which took place last Friday and Saturday in San Antonio at the Josh Davis Natatorium.
Ricebird senior Gage Garner in the 100-yard breaststroke had a time of 59.97 and finished in 14th place out of 16 swimmers. Garner shaved three-tenths off of his prelim time.
“This last weekend was by far the fastest competition he’d (seen) all year,” Ricebird coach Kelly Garner said. “So it was very exciting to see him swim some of his best times ever.”
Due to COVID-19 safety protocols this year, swim programs could not have large meets. At the district and regional swim meets were the only time Garner was able to see the same type of competition that he’d get during a normal swim season.
“This was a tough year to make it to state. Due to virus concerns, the UIL allowed (fewer) swimmers to compete at state than in normal years,” Garner said. “In a normal year, we would see tough competition in big meets in Corpus or Houston.”
At regionals, Garner won a silver medal in the 100-yard breaststroke and he was the district champion.
“I told all of the swimmers at regionals, and Gage again at state: you earned the right to be here,” Garner said. “You deserve to be here. Gage swimming at the 5A State Championship showed them all that putting in the hard work can put a swimmer from EC in a position to compete with the swimmers from anywhere.”
Before Garner’s trip to state, the last time El Campo made it to the final was in 2018 when now graduated Camryn Jansky qualified.
Grant Klatt won state in the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard individual medley. Klatt is a junior for the Fort Bend Christian Academy, he is the son of Rebecca Starling Klatt and Kelvin Klatt who both graduated from El Campo High School.