Bartlesville swim team swims out to state

Grace Ontiveros, Sports Editor

  After an outstanding campaign on the season, the Bruins swim team prepares for the upcoming state competition. The competition will take place on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 in Edmond. Leading the Bruins are senior June Harris who recently signed with North Texas, senior Tyler Myers, and returning head coach Chad Englehart. The Bruins have focused all season on building up their performance for state.

  “Well,” Harris said. “I think that we are in a really good position to possibly win state. The team has been getting good rest and working hard to increase our chances. We also have a lot of strong swimmers and I think everyone is capable of making a top 16 finish and maybe even a top 8.”

  As for Harris, she is most looking forward to the relays. Relays are a team event where there are four swimmers, and each swims a different portion of the race.

  “[I’m looking forward to the] 400 free relay because it is the last relay of the meet and relays are the most fun,” Harris said.

  The girls team has won state for the past four consecutive years in a row, and they are hoping to keep the streak going, but it will be difficult after losing lost of last years talent.

  “There is a little pressure,” Harris said. “But I think that as long as we do our best we should be able to win another state title. We did lose a lot of talent, but we have gained several incoming freshman who have stepped it up this year that will help us pull out a win.”

  The dynamic of the team has shifted after the departure of many all-star swimmers, and in that, more gaps in the team have created a new type of challenge.

  “There has been more opportunities for people to step up [this year],” Harris said. “I think our biggest challenge for this year is probably not letting everyone’s doubt that we can’t win state mess with our heads. We need to have positive attitudes and lots of love for each other and we do hope to keep it up.”

  Senior Tyler Myers is also getting his side prepared for the upcoming state event.

  “We feel that we are already in a good position to win the swimming and academic state title and we just need to focus on the little things,” Myers said. “We are tapering and working on fixing any mistakes we might have in our events. Overall, we thing that we are looking good and have a good chance at winning.”

  The boys side also lost a lot of talented seniors, who carried a lot of the weight of the team last season.

  “It will be more challenging,” Myers said. “But with the amount of hard work we’ve put in, I believe that we have a good chance at winning. I think that the dynamic has stayed the same. Except for the fact that we know that it is going to take a lot more effort to win this year. Not allowing nerves to get to us and keeping our cool will also play a big factor in that.”

  Staying motivated is a key factor for the swimmers in order to perform their best at all times.

  “We have motivated each other by keeping practices fun and doing things like team dinners together,” Myers said. “We hope to keep this up by having a great meet and keeping our traditions.”

  At the last meet, the Bruins and Broken Arrow got into it after the Broken Arrow swimmers stole the Bruins mascot, the pineapple staff. The Bruins called for retaliation by deheading the Broken Arrow swimmers mascot the duck.

  “The drama between us and Broken Arrow is all in good fun,” Myers said. “It will not affect our performance. The other teams will still be watching out for us due to our ability to perform in the water. Our team will still be taken seriously regardless of what happens outside of the water.”

  As for coach Chad Englehart, he has prepared the team to the best of his ability.

  “Well,” Englehart said. “I think very best is kind of a peak performance thing that we look at towards the end of the year. So most of the year we’ve been pretty tired, pretty beat up, so there’s a leap of faith involved in being a swimmer in that you train all year long for a peak performance at the end of the year. Unlike basketball or something like that where you want to play your best every game, we expect the fact that we are going to be a little fatigued and probably a little slower than most of the season. We then pick it up at the end, and hopefully everything works out magically and we swim really really well at the end of the year.”

  Everything that the team has done all season has amounted up to the state meet.

  “Well”, Englehart said. “We’re really focused on trying to be faster. I think that’s probably the number one thing. We can’t pick up more swims anymore, the lineup is set, the state meet is set. So now it’s a matter of figuring out how to score an extra point here, or an extra point there. And that all amounts to swimming faster, so the focus all season long has been on preparing to swim as fast as we possibly can and over these last two weeks we just reiterate that. Everything’s just about swimming faster.”

  Coach Chad also believes taking state for the fifth consecutive year in a row will be more difficult.

  “Yes,” Englehart said. “We’ve actually lost more than just those six seniors. Uh Abigail Cunningham, Ashton Ernest, and Lauren Green are all missing from last year’s squad as well. So we’ve actually got nine girls missing from last years fifteen. The last three years, we have been significantly better than everyone else in the state. This year we hop to be better, but it is a very close race. So I think the dynamic is we were a professional team playing with highschool swimmers, and now we are high school swimmers ourselves, if that kind of makes sense.”

  This year, the Bruins will face an undefeated Jenks side at state.

  “I think our biggest challenge will be staying aggressive through the inevitable ups and downs of the meet,” he said. “Jenks, will definitely be a challenge. They’ve beaten us four times this year. They beat us at the state preview, they beat us at the Jenks dual meet, they beat us at the frontier conference, and they won regionals. So they’re undefeated this year, and they’ve handed us four consecutive losses, so that’s obviously who we gotta. And in reality, it’s about beating ourselves. We lost the regional cause we made a mistake. We need to do our thing, and swim as fast as we can swim, and if we can do that, we’ll win.”