JENKS — Moments before the final standings were announced, Tomas Elder knew his team was all but a lock to finish first. But the Norman North senior said it still hadn’t sunk in.
It wasn’t until a few minutes later, after a Timberwolves team clad in their medals and sporting “dream team” T-shirts had pushed the coaching staff into the pool, did it finally set in for Elder.
The T-Wolves are state champions.
Norman North swam away with the Class 6A state swim title Saturday afternoon at Jenks Aquatic Center, racking up 321 points to second-place Bartlesville’s 264 and finishing more than 100 points ahead of everyone else.
“It’s unreal,” said Elder, who swam the fastest lap as part of a state-record time of 1:35.88 in the 200-yard medley relay. “Two years ago we got together and had this dream of doing this in our senior year, and that’s where the ‘dream team’ thing came from. But to be at this point, it’s a complete group effort. Everyone’s pitched in.”
The other two seniors on the record-setting relay were Alex Zhu and Kendon McGehee, along with sophomore Justin Wu. The group won the relay by more than 4 seconds, one of seven events North won.
In addition to the relay, Elder also won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle while Wu won the 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle. His time of 1:39.13 in the 200 bested the state-record time of 1:39.98 he set on Friday.
“We were eyeing the records, and it’s a big relief to get them,” the sophomore said. “We only had one shot to get this for Norman North, and we did it. Now it’s a record that should stay for quite a while. It can’t get any better.”
Norman High finished fourth on the boys’ side, with seniors Austin Cody, Natanon Corbin, Tom Sievers and Justus Gibson leading the way. Cody finished second in the 100 breaststroke, while Sievers took fifth in the 100 butterfly.
“This senior group all swam really well today,” coach Kent Nicholson said. “They did a great job all day.”
On the girls’ side Maddie Sarantakos, who won the 100-yard butterfly and finished second in the 200 freestyle, led Norman North to a third-place finish.
“I won’t lie, I was nervous going in,” the freshman said. “There were so many great swimmers I was a little scared. I didn’t even look at the clock when I was done. I was watching Kent, and when I saw him jumping and screaming I knew.”
The Norman High girls finished outside the top 10 but drew praise from Nicholson, who credited all the swimmers in the program for the success they enjoyed on Saturday.
“It’s all one program for both schools, and these kids all work together to make it happen,” he said. “It’s satisfying for me for us to win a title, but there’s so many people in the program who make it happen. I’m proud of the group effort.”
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