The OCCC Aquatic Center hosted more than 635 high school swimmers for the OSSAA 5A and 6A State Swimming Championships Feb. 19.
The state championship meet was for all state qualifiers who had outstanding performances throughout the season.
The competition included local Oklahoma high schools such as Heritage Hall and Bishop McGuiness but also included rural Oklahoma high schools such as Pryor and Miami.
The day of events began at 10:30 a.m. with a heart-warming race among 6A high school Special Olympians statewide.
State qualifiers later participated in a wide variety of events ranging from freestyle to individual medley events.
The 5A competition began at 4 p.m. and also kicked off with another “awesome Special Olympics Race,” said meet director Amy Cassell, of the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association.
Winner of the boys 200-yard individual medley, Scott Solomon, from Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, said he believes his victory resulted from hours of practice.
Generally, the individual medley race entails four types of strokes which include the butterfly stroke, the backstroke, the breaststroke, and a freestyle selection.
“I have been practicing two times a day since last April,” he said. “It was a lot of work, but I’m glad I won.”
Solomon said he has represented his high school for the fourth year in a row.
The Fort Gibson Lady Tigers won their first 5A state crown at the meet, while Harrah took the 5A boys crown.
Among 6A schools, Edmond North won the girls championship, while Jenks took first for the boys.
Some of the events at the meet included a boys 50-yard freestyle competition, a girls 200-yard medley relay competition, and a boys 100-yard butterfly competition.
Swimming official Jim Sullins served as a referee for the event.
His task was to make sure that the start and stopping actions, along with the turns of the swimmers, complied with all of the rules of the OSSAA swimming manual.
“There is a neck referee and a starter referee to make sure that every move of the swimmers is being followed,” he said.
“The backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly are included in the events and must be done properly for a finalist to be named a champion.”
The annual event is held at the OCCC Aquatics Center in mid-February.