Kingwood Swimming got off to an earlier start than usual this year in terms of training. The reason for this is because Coach Russell Duin experiences a continuing trend: “Every year it gets faster and faster so we had to make sure and get into the water a little sooner,” Coach Duin said. The Kingwood swimmers were surprised by this but Coach Duin is confident it will pay off in the long run.
Tryouts were held in August and once the teams were set, the swim team did a couple of weeks of training on dry land and by the middle of September they were going full force in the water. Coach Duin said that the team will have a pretty good idea of where they are going into the TISCA tournament at the end of November. In December they will do a lot of hard training followed by the district meet in January. In early February the regional meet takes place and then the state meet at the end of the month. “It does go by fast but it’s a pretty long grind for our sport,” Coach Duin stated. The team gets around 80 dives in the water per practice.
Many times during the week the team comes in at 5:45 AM and gets to work. To go along with this, they also have after school clubs such as Blue Tide and Eagle Aquatics that they train with. So with school work on top of all of that, it is a very grinding sport as Coach Duin mentioned and it takes a lot of dedication from these kids to do what they do day in and day out. The team is compiled up of Men’s and Women’s Varsity and JV teams. There are 20 boys and 20 girls on Varsity and there are 17 boys and 20 girls on the JV teams.
Playoffs are all based on qualifying. At the district meet the top 8 score, however only the top 6 move on to the regional meet. There, they have a consolation final and a championship final. The competitor must be in the championship final which is compiled of the top 8. Once they swim the final, it’s an automatic bid to state if the swimmer wins their event out of the 8 regions. The next 16 qualifiers are based on time and the state takes the best 8 times out of the whole state. At state it is just the top 16 in state at each event. District and Regional meets are held in The Woodlands Aquatic Center or the “NAT” and state is held in Austin, TX at the University of Texas Swim Center.
Coach Duin has been with Kingwood High School since 1990 and assumed the head coaching duties during the 2004-05 school year. He has been teaching Spanish throughout his teaching career having been born in Panama and growing up in Mexico City. Spanish is his first language. Kingwood has had the pleasure of winning a few state championships with the boys and girls but the big one came in 2006 when the boys were named the National Champions by Swimming World. Ironically, the boys did not win state that year, they were runner-up. They were called for false start in relay exchange which was considered a “horrible” call in the eyes of many Kingwood supporters. “It was one of my all-time safest boys. He was my anchor guy. It was a perfect start and the referees called him on a false start which cost us the state championship,” Coach Duin said. Though the Mustangs had enough fast times and won the combined National Championship.
“I hope and pray that we have a great year. It’s a pretty good grind for these kids and we got to do different things to keep these kids motivated and excited. We’re still trying to create team and learn about team and everything that envelopes team with loyalty, support, and integrity.” Coach Russell Duin.
Written by Mark M. Johnson