Tommy and Robby King have been teammates in the pool on plenty of relays. But earlier this season, they found themselves on the blocks in opposite lanes — at the same time.
Thanks to some creative lineup shuffling by Highland Park head coach Jesse Cole at a relatively inconsequential dual meet, the twins turned from supporters to rivals for the two lengths of the pool that followed.
“I didn’t want him to beat me, and he didn’t want me to beat him,” Tommy King said. “It was close.”
For the past four years, the King brothers have helped to lead a resurgence among the HP boys, on a squad that was previously dominated by their female counterparts. And now the seniors hope their high school swimming careers will end at the UIL state meet in February.
“We’re kind of building off the momentum that we had last year,” Tommy said. “We’ve had some really good swimmers come through.”
The siblings have been swimming competitively since they were very young, following in the footsteps of their older sisters — former HP standouts Taylor and Morgan. The family moved from California to the Park Cities several years ago.
“When they were freshmen, they kind of had a spark to them and brought an energy to the program,” Cole said. “They started contributing right away.”
Tommy said the camaraderie among teammates has helped to drive the success of the program at HP. That certainly extends to the twins, who provide extra coaching for one another both in and out of the pool.
“We’ve been swimming together for so long,” Robby said. “We’ll watch each other’s races.”
Cole said that while Tommy tends to excel in sprints, both of the siblings are among the most versatile swimmers on his roster. They give him more choices when matching up relay quartets.
“If one is doing better, the other one knows they need to pick it up,” Cole said. “They tend to push each other.”
Tommy said the Blue Wave has developed a foundation of depth and talent now to continue the progress of the program after the duo graduates next spring — and to make some hardware a realistic possibility.
“Even the younger swimmers know that state is a possibility,” he said. “Our dream is within reach now.”