Swim team headed to the state championship


Kelly Matteson

Sophomore Torie Whitbeck swims the 200 Free at 5A Swim Regionals Feb. 5 at Jenks Aquatic Center. Whitbeck earned first place with a time of 2.01. Photo by Kelly Matteson

Kampbell Kopera

The swim teams will battle for the state championship title Jan. 22-23 at Mitch Park.

The boys swim team came in second place and the girls swim team placed third at the Class 5A Swim Regional Meet Feb. 5.

“Both teams performed really well this weekend, and I am so proud of my teams,” coach Mark Veneklasen said. “Due to the pandemic, it has caused some challenges, but the swimmers overcame them and performed their best at regionals.”

Sophomore Torie Whitbeck came in second place behind Bishop Kelley in the 500-yard free during regionals.

“When I scored second in the 500-yard freestyle event, I was beyond excited,” Whitbeck said. “I have worked so hard this season, and I can’t wait to swim at state.”

Freshman Macy Lewis placed first over rival Bishop Kelley in the 100-yard butterfly event.

“I finished with a time of 59.71, beating Bishop Kelley at the same time,” Lewis said. “It was really exciting. I am so happy I finished first in my event, and I am even happier to go to state with my team.”

Whitbeck, junior Katie Elbow, Lewis and junior Lilianna Gavula finished in first place in the 400-yard freestyle race.

“Getting the time of 4:05:42 was a great feeling because I knew that we were headed to state,” Gavula said. “Macy Lewis was the anchor, and she finished with .4 ahead of Fort Gibson High School, and it was so exciting.”

Sophomore Jacob Moad earned in fourth place in the 100-yard backstroke.

“Finishing in fourth place wasn’t what I wanted, but of course I wanted to finish in first place,” Moad said. “At the end of the day, I have to remind myself to breathe and relax because swimming is something I love, but it is for fun.”

Moad and sophomore Henry Ison, junior David Hernandez and senior Sergio Martinez finished third in 400-yard freestyle relay. 

“I am proud of the ending time when the boys finished, and I am always impressed with my swimmers,” assistant coach Chris Ruesewald said. “Practice is always hard for the swimmers, but the practices paid off for these boys during their event.”

State qualifiers for the girls team are Romy Abu-Fadel, Katie Elbow, Addisyn Fitzgerald, Lilianna Gavula, Macy Lewis, Peyton Matteson and Torie Whitbeck. State qualifiers for the boys team are Max Bunnag, David Hernandez, Santiago Hernandez, Henry Ison, Sergio Martinez, Jacob Moad, James Nguyen and Nick Schoeffler.