POWER NINE: Nine Yukon swimmers set to compete at 6A state championships

Nine swimmers from the Yukon swim team will compete in the 6A state swimming championships Friday and Saturday at Mitch Park in Edmond.

Five boys and four girls will represent Yukon in nine of the 22 events in the competition. The swimmers have had two weeks to prepare for the state meet after concluding the regional meet on Feb. 3.

“Since the regional meet, the swimmers’ effort during practice has been commendable,” Yukon coach Bruce Clifton said. “They realize the opportunity they have earned, so they are putting everything they have into the workouts. All of the swimmers competing at state swam last year at state, with the exception of Johana (Aguilera), so they’re driven to remain focused.”

The five boys swimmers are Isaiah Auld, Yitzhak Ramirez, Ethan Davidson, Blake Eberhardt and Braden Crawford. The four girls are Amanda Toney, Aguilera, Madison Lee and Lauren Boswell.

Auld will compete in the boys’ 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle individual events and as a part of the boys’ 200-yard freestyle relay team and 400-yard freestyle relay team.

Ramirez will compete in the boys’ 100-yard butterfly and 500-yard freestyle individual events and as a part of the boys’ 200-yard medley relay team and the boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay team.

Davidson will compete in the boys’ 100-yard backstroke individual event and the boys’ 200-yard medley relay team, the boys’ 200-yard freestyle relay team and the boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay team.

Eberhardt will compete in the boys’ 200-yard medley relay team, the boys’ 200-yard freestyle relay team and the boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay team.

Crawford will compete on the boys’ 200-yard medley relay team and the boys’ 200-yard freestyle relay team.

“I told the boys at the beginning of the year that they had a chance to do something special this year,” Clifton said. “They have done exactly that. They take pride in knowing that they have been the best boys’ team in school history. Now, it’s just time to put an exclamation point to the season by finishing higher at state than any other Yukon boys team has. We do have a great core of senior leadership, which has contributed to their success. We also have some extremely talented undergraduates mixed in with them, which I think this year will only wet their appetite to compete at the same level next year. In turn, hopefully, it will motivate the girls to step it up a notch as well. People in the swimming world have taken notice that we are on the rise.”

Toney, Aguilera, Lee and Boswell will compete on the girls’ 400-yard freestyle relay team.

Clifton said his team is dealing with the nerves well at this point.

“Like I said, this is a veteran group that has swam at the state level before, so they understand how to temper their emotions and nerves enough to stay focused. Nerves are always a part of any athletic event but you learn that your training takes over when it’s time to compete. They’ll stay focused on what needs to be done and use the nervous energy to their advantage instead of letting it become a distraction. Johana (Aguilera) is a freshman and is the only one that hasn’t experienced swimming at the state level but the other ones will keep her focused. She is in the relay for a reason. She has shown ll year she has the tenacity and drive to be a competitor.”

Clifton shared what it’s going to take for his team to be successful at the state level.

“To get to state is difficult in its own right, so in that regard these swimmers have experienced success at a level not all high school swimmers get to enjoy,” Clifton said. “But the reason they are there is because they’re not ever satisfied if they aren’t improving every time they swim. They won’t feel like they are a success unless they make it to the second day of state. That’s the first step for them. The fact that we have a chance of bringing home a medal or two is icing on the cake.”

The doors to the pool will open at 2:30 p.m. both days and the meet will begin at 5 p.m. both days. Yukon will warm up from 3 to 3:30 p.m. on the north end of the pool in lanes six through eight.

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