MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

February 17, 2013

Three-peat for record-breaking Fort Gibson

TULSA — When it was all over and Fort Gibson’s girls could finally feel confident they had captured their third state Class 5A swimming title, they broke out the tutus.

It’s not often that a state title is marked with the donning of brand new black and red tutus, but head coach Connie Dean felt it was very appropriate.

“It’s like a fairy tale so they should look like princesses,” Dean said through a wide smile after her squad had logged 299 points to hold off Stillwater (260) and Bixby (237) in a closely contested state championship meet.

Fort Gibson’s boys finished fourth, totaling 199 points. Bixby took home its third title in five years with 275 points, edging second-place Harrah (256).

Highlighting the day for Fort Gibson were wins for Leslie White in the 200 IM (2.16.66) and 100 breaststroke (1.08.96). White was also a part of the 200 freestyle relay team that bested their own state record. The 2010 team held the mark at 1:47.81 and their 2013 counterparts came in at 1:46.34.

“I was very nervous before my individual races,” White said. “In the 400, I knew we were close to the record, but I didn’t know we had broken it until it was all over.”

Hannah Cantrell, who anchored the relay team, said the record was a surprise to her.

“I didn’t hear we had broken the record until we were already out of the pool,” said Cantrell, a senior. “I can’t even explain the feeling right now of holding that record and being a three-time champion. It just feels amazing.”

Dean was asked about the impact of Cantrell and fellow senior Hali Martin on the team.

“I don’t want to even think about fielding a relay team without Hannah and Hali,” Dean said. “Those seniors have meant so much to our program. It’s hard to even think about it, so I just want to relish the moment right now.”

While there was plenty to celebrate on Saturday night, Dean made sure a very important fact wasn’t lost among the notable moments that happened in the pool.

“I’m proud that we’re not only three-time state champion in swimming, but that our girls are also three-time state academic champions,” Dean beamed.

And what’s next for Fort Gibson?

“Someone asked me if we were building a dynasty at Fort Gibson,” Dean said. “I don’t worry about that. I just want to make sure that we keep the ball rolling.”

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