MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

February 23, 2014

FGHS girls swim to four-peat; boys fourth

The dynasty talk is still going strong.

The Fort Gibson Lady Tigers swim team captured their fourth straight state swimming championship at the Class 5A meet on Saturday in Edmond.

The Lady Tigers finished ahead of Stillwater in the final standings, amassing 247.5 points to the Lady Pioneers’ 207. Harrah (162), Carl Albert (139) and Kingfisher (137) rounded out the top five.

“It’s thrilling,” said Fort Gibson coach Connie Dean. “I just can’t believe four in a row, it’s amazing. I tell parents, I tell girls this, ‘Don’t take this for granted because this doesn’t (normally) happen.’ Most people are lucky to win one state championship. But to win four is incredible.”

Fort Gibson fell behind Stillwater early in the meet but never went into panic mode. Leslie White  who in winning the 100-yard breaststroke missed a state record by 1/10 of a second (1 minute, 1.71 seconds was her time) and finished second in the 200 individual medley, knew that the Lady Tigers’ strongest events were yet to come.

“We were all kind of relaxed but it still makes you nervous,” White said, whose 1:01.71 . “Our team swims a lot of the events that are later in the day and Stillwater swims a lot that are earlier. So it’s kind of scary but they always seem to get ahead of us in the beginning and we bring it back in the end.”

The strength of the girls team was in the relays and the Lady Tigers used their strength to grab the lead. Fort Gibson won the 200 medley and the 200 freestyle relays while finishing second in the 400 freestyle.

White, who swam the second leg of the 200 medley and anchored the 200 free, said while winning four straight titles is an incredible feeling, the first one sticks out the most.

“I had never been a part of something like that before,” she said. “And it was just crazy.”

Sara Nichols, Whitney Stroup and Delanie Terrell joined White on the 200 medley relay team with Audrey Ross and Kyla Martin teamed with Terrell and White for the 200 freestyle victory. Nichols, Stroup, Terrell and Martin made up the 400 freestyle relay team that finished second to Stillwater.

“It’s been typical the last couple of years,” Dean said. “We were trailing at first when it came to the 200 freestyle relay. We won the relay  and Stillwater did not have a backstroke swimmer so we knew we were going to catch them. But it was tight.”

On the boys side, the Tigers came up short in their bid for a first state championship, finishing with 221 points, fourth behind Stillwater (263), Altus (258) and Bixby (228).

“The boys swam their hearts out today,” Dean said. “For the guys to finish in the top four year after year, that’s a fine accomplishment also.”

Dean knew the boys were going to have to capture a relay in order to have a chance at catching Stillwater. The Tigers finished sixth in the 200 medley, third in the 200 freestyle and fourth in the 400 relay.

Jordan Diebold, who anchored the 200 medley and swam leadoff on the 200 freestyle, knew the guys gave it all they had.

“We did very well,” he said. “Stillwater is very strong. We had some of our best times of the year and still couldn’t catch them.”

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