Koudelka was aware of a competing swimmer, Kevin Ku of Austin Johnson who finished 0.6 behind him and was afraid he was in a battle for third place. Instead, the Buckeye sophomore knocked 6.24 seconds off his personal best to finish the race in 4:42.64.
Only Chris Griffin of Austin Lake Travis High School, a Class 4A school, finished with a faster time of 4:33.73.
“It feels great,” was the reaction of the young swimmer when asked about how it feels to win state.
“I was really surprised to see all the people from Gilmer that drove down to support me (at the state meeet,)” said Koudelka. “I am just used to having Mom and Dad with me.”
Even his opponents from Texarkana were cheering on their fellow northeast Texan. The swimmers from Texas High did not have anyone competing with Koudelka in the 500.
In the 200 yard freestyle, Koudelka’s other event, he did not have a good swim in the preliminaries the day before. As a result he missed the cut for the medal race but did finish first in the consolation heat in 1:45.45, another personal best. The race was won in 1:42.70.
Superintendent Rick Albritton and athletic department secretary Amy Ward were among those traveling to Austin to support the one-man swim team.