Haverdink to make third state appearance

On the night after the regional swim meet his sophomore year, Lubbock High swimmer Thomas Haverdink made a tough decision. He had just qualified for state in the 200-yard individual medley, 100-yard backstroke and as a member of the 400-meter freestyle relay.

 

But, he wasn’t going in all three events.

He knew he wasn’t fast enough, yet.

“Thomas calls me the night before everyone gets there, Sunday night, and says ‘Coach, I’m really not the fastest guy. (Isaac Echols) is a much faster swimmer than me. Can he have my spot on the relay?’ And he gave up his spot so Isaac could be on the relay,” Lubbock ISD swim coach Trey Hayes said. “I don’t know very many kids that are giving up their chance to be at the state meet for somebody faster, but Thomas didn’t think about it that way.

“(He’s) just an unselfish athlete. He is our captain this year and I don’t need to ask him to do anything. He takes initiative.”

For Hayes, Haverdink’s “unselfish” attitude has made him the athlete he is today. Fast forward to Friday, Haverdink will make his third state appearance and second consecutive in four different events.

“All the others years, it was more of an award and it was a fun thing that we got to do, winning regionals was the goal. And then this year we had a really great team and a lot of really great swimmers make it — we have been thinking all year ‘What is going to happen at state?’” Haverdink said. “So, this year’s state is not an award. We are going into it to win.”

The senior swimmer will compete in the 200-yard individual medley, 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay at the Class 5A state swim meet, prelims running Friday and finals on Saturday at the University of Texas’ Lee and Joe Jamail Swim Center.

Haverdink started swimming at a young age, his interest originally elsewhere. His dad did triathlons and he wouldn’t let his son do a triathlon until he knew how to swim.

So, Haverdink joined the swim team.

Since shifting his focus to the sport thereafter, he has become an integral piece on the Westerners boys swim team. Haverdink helped lift Lubbock High to its second consecutive Region I-5A championship on Feb. 4.

“He is the first one in the water every day, he asks good questions, he knows when to go and I don’t have to remind him about stuff,” Hayes said. “He is just a hard worker.”

Haverdink admitted that the road to state was a difficult one, but he enjoys a challenge. And Hayes saw his potential long before he was helping to win regional titles.

“I kept telling him, you got talent. Stick with it. And each year he has progressed a little bit more into what he is now — two years in a roll going to state in four events,” Hayes said. “(He went) from that kids who didn’t get any of the ribbons or any of the accolades — he was just happy to go to meets — to this guy who is a leader of this team, and there is not one person on this team that wouldn’t tell you the exact same thing.”

 

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