During the annual Meet the Mustangs introductory pep rally in August 2018, Rick Hoover, who was the athletics director, announced the athletics department added another sport — swimming — thanks to sophomore Landry Stewart and freshman Taylor Ashbaugh.
The duo and their families approached Hoover about their desire to form a team at the high school. Since then more swimmers have joined the squad every year.
So when Ashbaugh signed her National Letter of Intent to swim for Illinois College during a ceremony at the high school May 19, the Lady Mustang graduates knowing other swimmers can continue to compete for the purple and gold in the sport they love, too.
“We think about it a lot,” she said. “It has been a lot of work getting everything together, to be able to see it grow in four years. I think that’s the main reason. I think that’s the main reason I got to go to college for swimming.”
She chose Illinois College because “it’s very homey, very family oriented. They’re very comforting.”
Ashbaugh was recruited for the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke though she isn’t stopping at just those two.
“I plan to stay well rounded and compete in other events, including the 200 individual medley, the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly,” she said.
The daughter of Kelly and Mark Ashbaugh will be a nursing major.
Ashbaugh began swimming in elementary school for the city of Marble Falls’ summer team. In the fifth grade, she became a member of Nitro Swimming. Her love for the sport grew and is what prompted the Ashbaughs to schedule a meeting with Hoover in 2018.
The Lady Mustang said she still experiences the same feelings about the sport she enjoyed when she first began competitive swimming.
“It’s more of a place of comfort,” she said. “If you have a bad day, go swim. You always have people to lean on, you always have people with you.”
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