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New Braunfels' Barrera, Bruns finishing high school careers at State

Both enter State seeded in top 8 of each of their four events

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – A pair of New Braunfels seniors have one final chance to make their mark on Texas high school swimming.

Isaac Barrera and Cole Bruns both showcased their talents during Saturday's Region VII 6A Championships, qualifying for the UIL State meet in all four of their individual events.

Barrera dominated his competition, winning the 200-yard individual medley in Regional record fashion (1:50.68) and the 500-yard freestyle by more than 5 seconds (4:33.10). As he preps for his third straight trip to State, Barrera is currently listed as the top qualifier in the 200 and seventh in the 500, and since both of these events are new to his State resume, his game plan has changed.

"I've switched both of the events that I did for districts and regionals this year," Barrera said. "I'm just focusing more on I.M. work, transitions, and then doing a lot more pace work for the 500."

Bruns came from behind to touch first in the 100-yard freestyle (45.93), and secured the second automatic qualifying spot in the 50-yard freestyle (20.95). A year removed from missing the B-final, Bruns now enters State with top 8 times in both of his events.

"I didn't even start swimming competitively until sophomore year," Bruns explained. "I swam high school three days a week my freshman year, and it feels like yesterday to be honest. I can remember trying to figure out how to swim competitively and now I'm leaving going to Auburn. It's surreal."

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Both swimmers will compete at the NCAA Division I level next season -- Barrera will head to the University of Minnesota, while Bruns has already committed to Auburn -- and both want to end their high school careers on a high note.

"It's definitely more pressure, but I like it," Bruns said. "All of the other commits are telling me that I've got to be as close to 19 as I can. That's all I've been thinking about recently -- that and winning State."

"Just like the last few years at State, the team is behind you," Barrera said. "You're trying to do as well as you possibly can and finish with best times. Being at State -- that's the light at the end of the tunnel."

The UIL State 6A swimming and diving meet begins Friday, Feb. 15. Prelims start at 10 a.m.

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