Shawnee swimmers scheduled to compete at Class 6A state meet

Brian Johnson
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
Members of the 2020-21 Shawnee High School swim teams.

The Shawnee High School swim teams will be represented by 17 members as the Class 6A State Championships are set to begin Friday and wrap up on Saturday at the Jenks Aquatic Center, weather permitting.

After warmups at 8 a.m., the boys will begin competition at 10 a.m., on Friday. The warmups for the girls are at 2 p.m. with the girls' competition set to start at 4 p.m., also on Friday. The meet continues and concludes on Saturday.

The Lady Wolves are coming off a third-place finish at regionals as eight school records were established and one All-American time was achieved by sophomore Piper McNeil in the 200 individual medley relay in 2:03.64. McNeil also took first place in the 100 backstroke after clocking in at 55.53 seconds. As a result, McNeil qualifies for state in both events.

Other individuals qualifying for state from Shawnee are: Aspen Chapline in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke, Natalie Selman in the 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, Eva Webb in the 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle and Isabel Webb in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly.

Eva Webb was a regional champion and set a school record in the 100 freestyle (54.63 seconds).

“I was very pleased. I was amazed at the PR's (personal records). It was probably the best regional we've had in all of the years I have been coaching,” said Shawnee head coach Valarie Colburn. “Of the 23 swimmers (girls and boys combined) we had at regionals, 20 of them swam PR's. At this level, there are differences of 100's of a second and I was impressed with the way they were able to swim PR's.”

Shawnee also qualified three relays on the girls' side – 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay. The 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay teams were regional champions and also set school records.

Making up the 200 medley relay are Selman, Isabel Webb, Eva Webb and McNeil. The 200 freestyle relay consists of McNeil, Chapline, Isabel Webb and Eva Webb.

The Lady Wolves' 400 relay combination of Chapline, Emma Oller, Jordyn Sateren and Selman was sixth at regionals.

Shawnee is at a disadvantage because of numbers on the team. Many Class 6A squads can put four individuals in each event, but because of the Lady Wolves' and Wolves' lack of numbers, they can only have two in each individual event.

On the boys' side, four Wolves – Josh Coons, Thurman Lee, Trent Ogden and Ryan Staal – each qualified for state in two individual events while Bryce Holter and Ethan Oller qualified in one after Shawnee took third as a team at regionals.

Coons will compete in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly. Lee will involved in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle. Ogden is set to compete in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke and Staal will be involved in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke.

Holter is set to compete in the 500 freestyle and Oller in the 100 backstroke.

Ogden set school records in the 100 backstroke and 50 freestyle as he took second and third respectively at regionals. Coons set a school mark in the 100 butterfly while placing third. Lee established a school record while finishing sixth at regionals.

Shawnee also had three state-qualifying relays.

The Wolves' 200 freestyle relay team of Ogden, Oller, Lee and Troy Rakestraw qualified for state after placing second at regionals.

The other two Shawnee relays placed third at regionals and also qualified for the state meet. The 400 freestyle relay consists of Oller, Holter, Andrew Shepard and Lee. On the 200 medley relay team are Ogden, Staal, Coons and Rakestraw.

It's been a challenge for Shawnee and many teams across the state due to COVID-19 and the recent raging winter storms.

“This year was so hard to stay with a continuous, good practice schedule. We haven't been in the pool in several days (due to the weather),” Colburn said. “We were able to get into the pool a few times last week. It's such an endurance sport, something you've got to do on a consistent basis every week. Swimmers can have a day or two from the pool but when it gets to four or five days you hate that.”

The format for state, because of COVID restrictions, is having one session for the boys and one for the girls. That format was staged at regionals without preliminary races. The state meet will have prelims as well as finals.

“They've done so well at the big meets. I have been impressed with how they have handled things,” said Colburn.

By having separate sessions, it limits attendance. Only one ticket will be available for each swimmer to use for a parent, guardian or family member.

A postponement is possible due to the weather conditions and an announcement could come closer to the state meet.