The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The end of a season

Photo provided by Bing Wen
From left to right: sophomore Lillian Snell, aAnnabel Qiu, junior and captain Selina Qiu and freshman Cadence Johnson competed in the 200 yard medley relay, placing sixth with a final time of 1:50.46, a two-second improvement from their entry time of 1:52.04, ranked seventh.

Varsity swim girls ranked five out of 18 teams at the HISD regional swim meet in Conroe, Texas between Feb. 8 and 10. Varsity boys accumulated 163 points, placing themselves 19 points higher than Lamar and finishing sixth out of 18 teams.

Juniors Charles Yu and Alejandro Turley, along with sophomores Pengjun Zhao and David Raichman ranked fifth in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:35.69, a two second drop from their preliminary time of 1:37.12.

“There’s really good chemistry between the people on that relay,” the relay’s breastroke leg Yu said, commenting on the teamwork of the relay.

Since all members of the relay consist of sophomores and juniors, the relay will compete again next year.

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“It was an improvement over the rest of the season, especially over prelims and previous years,” butterfly leg of the relay Turley said. “It wasn’t perfect, but we have a lot of potential, so I think next year is our year. We’re already the fastest this relay has ever been.”

Placing fourth overall and advancing to state, junior Charles Yu swam the 100 breaststroke in a time of 57.71. (Photo provided by Bing Wen)

Yu swam in the 200-yard Individual Medley (IM) along with the 100-yard breastroke, qualifying for state championships in both events.

“Usually [swim] races are less than a minute, but the 200-yard IM is a longer event,” Yu said. “It’s very exhilarating, so I have more time to enjoy it and the race is more thrilling for me.”

Yu was most satisfied with his improvement of time in this event from a prelim time of 1:55.11 to finaling with a 1:53.25, a two second drop.

“That was my favorite event because it’s the one I improved the most on,” Yu said.

Swimming the 100-yard breaststroke in prelims, Yu was dissatisfied with his preliminary time, so after analyzing a video of his swim and thinking about his technique, he dropped time in finals.

“During the race itself, it’s a lot of instinct, just going off with what I’ve done at practice and just trying to finish,” Yu said. “The very last 10-15 yards, I really dug in. My entire body was burning at that point, but I still tried to persevere and touch the wall.”

Yu will swim at the state championship meet on Feb. 23 and 24 in Austin, Texas for both events.

“State is just more opportunities for me in the pool and since I’m missing school for it, I’m glad that I can get the most out of it by swimming both events,” Yu said.

State wasn’t a priority for Yu at regionals, relieving him of feelings of pressure or performance requirements, but qualifying nonetheless was a nice bonus to the end of the swim season.

“Going in, it was just a regular swim meet for me,” Yu said. “I didn’t go in with the mindset that this was ‘do-or-die’.”

Juniors Charles Yu and Alejandro Turley, along with sophomores Pengjun Zhao and David Raichman ranked fifth in the 200 yard medley relay with a time of 1:35.69, a two second drop from their preliminary time of 1:37.12. (Photo provided by Bing Wen)

The varsity boys also competed in the 400-yard freestyle relay, with each individual swimming 100 yards of freestyle.

Senior and swim captain Samuel Wen reflects on the performance of the team. This event requires the coordination of four teammates each contributing to a final time.

“[The] 400 free relay was my favorite because just working with my teammates, getting to learn more about them and having to learn their stroke, their dive and just trying to form a team, because it’s a relay event, was really nice,” Wen said.

The varsity boys placed fifth out of 16 teams with a time of 3:13.77.

Wen also swam the 500-yard freestyle in a time of 4:36.61, a five second drop from his prelims time, placing him fourth and advancing to state.

“[One] can go a super fast time and not place well, and not make state, so I was just keeping track of the field and trying to see what position I was and using that to judge my pace,” Wen said.

Wen’s personal best time in the 500 freestyle was set at the regional meet of 2023, so he was nervous going into the race, yet confident in himself.

Senior and captain Samuel Wen swam the 500 freestyle for his final time at an HISD regionals swim meet, placing 4th and advancing to state championships in Austin, Texas. (Photo provided by Bing Wen)

“I dropped time and I made state so it was a really nice experience,” Wen said. “The support that Coach Johnson and Coach Arrington gave me helped as well.”

Being a senior, Wen swam the 500 freestyle for the last time at a Bellaire regional meet.

“The people I raced in the 500, I’ve been racing for years in high school years and in club as well. We know each other, we always race each other, we try to pace off of each other, and we motivate each other,” Wen said. “That connection throughout the years, because distance freestyle is such a niche specialty, was really nice.”

“Watching [my teammates] go personal bests and watching Charlie and Cadence make state and just seeing how excited they were when they finished and saw their results and how excited coach was, was special,” Wen said, observing his teammates and their individual races.

Seniors Jason Deng and Samuel Wen, junior Alejandro Turley and sophomore Joseph Lu swam the 200-yard freestyle relay in a time of 1:32.60.

“Everyone had been swimming for the past 2 days at prelims and finals and everyone has had their own individual events and other relays,” Wen said. “[Because] this was the last event, everyone’s tired. But despite that, we really pulled it together and put a good time down.”

Members of this relay were able to enjoy the event without preoccupations of pressure, making it a memorable experience.

“Because Bellaire stacked the other two relays, the four of us were able to put down fast times individually and get an easy win,” Turley said. “We were able to relax and just swim without pressure, which made it really light-hearted.”

For the last time in her high school swimming career, senior and captain Hannah Rosannes swims the 100 breaststroke, ending her swimming with a memorable experience. (Photo provided by Bing Wen)

Junior Selina Qiu, sophomore Lillian Snell and freshmen Annabel Qiu and Cadence Johnson competed in the 200-yard medley relay, placing sixth with a final time of 1:50.46, a two second improvement from their entry time of 1:52.04, ranked seventh.

“[Racing in finals], we focused on getting our exchanges faster,” Captain Selina Qiu said. “Everyone put everything into it, and we dropped two seconds.”

Qiu individually raced in the 100-yard backstroke, placing fourth overall with a time of 59.04, a two second difference from her prelim time.

Both individually and as a team, Wen believes Bellaire performed well.

“We’re sending three people to state, which is a really good result for us,” Wen said. “[Bellaire had] a lot of personal bests and a lot of good relay performances.”

Compared to regionals of 2023, Bellaire scored approximately 50 points higher.

“We had a lot of best times and some strong distance freestylers, so it was a good meet,” Qiu said.

The improvement in performance for Bellaire made a bigger difference to Qiu, since she’s a captain this year. As the school swim season comes to a close, regionals is the last school swim meet some seniors will ever attend.

“Although I have only swam on the Bellaire team for two years, this team has quickly become the family I never knew I needed,” Captain and senior Hannah Rosanes who swam the 100 breaststroke said.

Rosanes and her teammates bought shark glasses and made bracelets for the team, creating a unique experience for everyone involved.

“Something Coach Johnson always says and I agree with is that ‘high school swimming is not always as serious as club swimming,’” Wen said. “Having fun should just be the priority.”

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