H20 Frogs hit the water with international swimming competitor

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    After sitting out his freshman season, Edgar Crespo is ready to live up to the men’s swimming team’s motto for the season: “Don’t hold back.”

    Although Crespo competed in a handful of world championships, he has yet to compete in a meet for the H20 Frogs.

    Crespo, a sophomore sprinter, was ineligible to compete last season because of an NCAA rule violation involving a one-year grace period that follows high school graduation in which NCAA athletes are allowed to compete in international competitions. He graduated high school in December 2006 and some of the 2008 Bejing Olympic-qualifying meets occurred after that one-year period defined by the rule.

    Crespo represented his native country, Panama, in Rome during the Federation Internationale de Natation World Championships in July. He competed in the 50-yard, 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke races, achieving a personal-best time of 1:02.92 in the 100-yard breaststroke.

    Swimming for the H20 Frogs won’t be that much different than swimming for his country because Crespo gives his best effort for whichever team he is swimming for, he said.

    Senior captain Josh Bagby said Crespo will contribute a great deal to the team this year.

    “He’s ready to help us, and we’re ready to have him,” Bagby said.

    Crespo is not the only one who’s ready to hit the water for the University of North Texas Relays in Mansfield on Friday. The men’s team is full of depth this year, thanks to transfer students and a solid freshman class, Bagby said.

    Devin Price, a freshman freestyle and backstroke swimmer, is a swimmer to watch out for this season, Bagby said.

    The women’s team has a promising freshman class as well, including butterfly and individual medley swimmer Madi Rupp, said senior captain Stephanie Futscher.

    Richard Sybesma, who is entering his 31st year as the H20 Frogs’ head coach, wrote in an e-mail that the team had several talented newcomers that could make an immediate impact.

    Between the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, the H20 Frogs will be led by five seniors. The group isn’t fazed by the responsibility of leadership because they had practice helping out last season’s five seniors.

    Futscher said she anticipates underclassmen stepping up to become leaders as well.

    “Anyone can be a leader on this team,” Futscher said. “You’ve just got to step up to the challenge.”

    Sybesma said his team has a good mixture of veteran leadership and youthful energy.

    Bagby and Futscher are among seven returning school record holders. The team has plenty of potential to rewrite the record books again this year, Bagby said.

    Returning school record holders junior distance swimmer Maria Alvarez and sophomore freestyle and individual medley swimmer Ashley Bolin have the potential to repeat successful seasons this year as well.

    The four-person dive team, although small, will try to make a big statement by performing dives with higher degrees of difficulty this season, said senior diver Destiny Glampe.

    Junior diver Kyle Callens, who broke the school record for a one-meter dive last season, will be an asset to the team as well, Bagby said.


    North Texas Relays

    When: 5 p.m. tonight

    Where: Mansfield ISD Natatorium