The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

February 17, 2013

Passion brought him back, competition brought him title

NORMAN — It’s about the moments.

It’s about the stories.

It’s about the drama.

You’d think I’d make up my mind. But the truth is it’s about all of those things, from saves state soccer championships couldn’t have been won without, to the back story behind Norman’s first state swimming championship since the Norman High boys won it all in 1994.

I tell people I try to find the drama in everything I cover, because somewhere it always lurks. Only today, maybe not. The way the Norman North boys blew everybody out of the pool Saturday at Jenks, the drama can be harder to peg, the completeness of the achievement so clear.

So let’s go with the story.

Quickly.

Kent Nicholson swam on three NHS state title teams, in 1980, ’82 and ’83 and he was helping Jim Akey with the Tiger swim program when NHS last won it all 19 years ago.

Then he went to law school.

“We thought we were going to be able to just walk away, and I did, I went to law school,” he said. “But the bug had bitten me.”

So he came back.

First, that meant guiding the Sooner Swim Club. Eventually, it meant running a single high school swimming program, albeit one that counts two different high schools.

“It’s what I know, it’s what I love, it’s what I do and I just fight for it,” Nicholson said, interrupting a celebration to answer a few questions Saturday night. “At one time, when I was practicing law, I thought swimming was going to die in Norman and I didn’t want to let that happen.”

When he took on the high school teams at NHS and North, he figured he had maybe 25 swimmers between both schools. This year, he has about 70 in the program. He said 21 are seniors, and about 10 of them are the program’s core, because they bought into the process when they were 6, 7 and 8 years old when they first got started in Sooner Swim Club.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Pistons Thunder Basketball Thunder go all out against Pistons

    OKLAHOMA CITY —  Heading into the final game of the regular season, Oklahoma City coach didn't want to hear anything about a night off. With his team riding a two-game losing streak and fighting for playoff positioning, he treated it like a playoff game.
     

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Clash tennis Timberwolves win girls’ Clash before boys’ dual ends in a draw

    And Crosstown Clash tennis dominance goes too … Norman North, sort of....

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fuller Westmoore's Fuller signs with Oklahoma Christian

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Tripp Fuller was looking for a school that fit him. One where the Westmoore senior would feel at home at....

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • North nearer to filling coaching vacancies

    A host of coaching positions in Norman are open for next year....

    April 17, 2014

  • Injuries taking a toll on CCS girls squad

    If luck, like karma, is supposed to come back around, Community Christian’s girls soccer team has a lot to look forward to because, right now, they’re living the other side of the equation....

    April 16, 2014

  • Tigers suffer smashing loss to Stillwater in second meeting

    Monday’s game against Stillwater showed exactly how good Norman High can be when it’s playing well. The Tigers held a lead in that game over 21-1 Stillwater, and had a chance to win it before the Pioneers staged a late comeback....

    April 16, 2014

  • North remains perfect in district

    Norman North remained a perfect 10-0 in district play with their second straight win over Lawton Eisenhower. After beating Ike 11-1 Monday, the Timberwolves turned around and hammered the Eagles 13-1 Tuesday night....

    April 16, 2014

  • Pelicans Thunder Basketball Thunder pluck Pelicans

    OKLAHOMA CITY -- Playing with the likes of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, it would be hard to get any recognition. That has been the plight of Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka over the last few years. However, there are those night’s ...

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • NHS’ tennis tandem a successful experiment

    Russell Gehring and Max Gillett are used to winning. As singles players on the Norman High team, they’ve seen their share of success, and it’s always come on their own terms as they played in the singles bracket....

    April 12, 2014

  • Viral goal Cichero’s amazing, game-winning goal goes viral

    Simply explaining the scene surrounding the goal that’s made him (more) famous, Norman North’s Mauro Cichero, without hardly trying, also managed to explain how and why he’s able to score goals like it.  “The ball went wide so I made a run ...

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo