NORMAN — While much of the focus at today’s swim meet will be on the stars from Norman High and Norman North, coach Kent Nicholson is just as interested to see some of his other swimmers step up.
“We qualified more than we expected to for state, and we had a ton of kids drop a lot of time,” he said. “The NHS boys especially had an unbelievable regional meet and really improved their chances this weekend.”
Some of the swimmers who have impressed Nicholson include North senior Gianluca DiTano, who won the regional for the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke. Another is freshman Claire Liu, who has made significant strides as the season has progressed and is a part of several highly seeded relay teams.
One of the most interesting swimmers in the group is North’s Emily Vittitow, a junior who is seeded in the top eight of several events. She’s never swam competitively before this season, yet has developed into an swimmer who will help the North girls reach for a state title.
“In my 20 years of coaching, I’ve never seen a girl become that competitive that quickly,” Nicholson said. “ She’s done a great job.”
Wu focused on team: Only a junior, Norman North’s Justin Wu has already done it all in swimming. He won a state title last year and set state records in the process.
Now, while he’s got his eye on several more records including the 200-yard medley and the 100-yard butterfly, Wu is more interested in helping his team repeat as state champions.
“With someone like Justin, you have to look for new things to challenge them,” Nicholson said. “He’s far and away the favorite in pretty much every race he’s in, but he’s focused on that team championship. That’s what he wants most.”
Edmond North, Bartlesville threaten T-Wolves: While both Norman North teams can reasonably be considered the favorites at this weekend’s meet, the Timberwolves will face stiff competition.
For the girls, that competition comes from Edmond North, a team they beat by 30 points at regionals but is expected to threaten for the title once all of the state’s schools are involved.
“They’re a really experienced team,” Nicholson. “We have the swimmers and the speed to beat them again, but we have to swim well at the meet. It’s going to be tough.”
On the boys’ side, the competition comes again from Edmond North as well as Bartlesville and Jenks, which finished within three points of each other at the top of the east-side regional.
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