Water splashes loudly as the swimmers near the end of their race. They fly through the water, each trying to beat their own time. Each pushing themselves faster and faster. Hands touch the wall. The race is over. Mark Eberhard looks at the time and grins, a personal record. This is just the beginning.
Mark Eberhard swam at the state swimming meet in Austin on Friday, February 16.
“I was so excited just to be swimming at the State Meet.” Mark said. “For my birthday my parents took me to Austin to watch the Pro Swim Series, so to be swimming at the same pool where I had just watched the top swimmers in the world compete was a dream come true.”
Mark is coached by Coach Gooding but now has a new coach, Matt Franks, a specialty coach out of Rockwall.
“I was seeded 22nd at state and I knew that only top 16 make it to the finals, so I knew I’d have to swim a personal best just to get the chance to swim again on Saturday,” Mark said. “When I touched the wall and saw that I had done exactly that, it was just the best feeling ever. I actually didn’t know if that would be enough to get me in the finals, but I knew I had given it my best so I was happy either way.”
Mark placed 16 in the state meet and will be moving onto sectionals, a USA swim meet with no age restrictions.
“It was actually my friend Cole Kilburn who told me that I made the finals, which after going a best time at state, just made the day even more awesome,” Mark said. “Cole is a senior from Pittsburg who is his schools swim team too. We used to train together in Longview, and we go to a lot of the same meets.”
Mark has been swimming competitively for only a year. He is the only member of the HHS swim team currently.
“Most competitive swimmers start much younger, but there’s also a lot of burn out that those kids go through, so I’m happy I started when I did,” Mark said. “I’m not tired of swimming at all. I feel like I just got started.”
Mark, as quoted above, wants to continue to grow as a swimmer and gain as much experience as he can.
“I’d just like to do my best at sectionals and get some experience competing at that level against some of the top swimmers,” Mark said. “But now that I’ve been to the state meet, my plan for the future is to work harder and get faster. I’d like to return to the state meet next year, and I’d like to win it.”