By Brody Feldmann
Yukon native Aydan Howard traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, to compete in the Junior Olympics swimming meet.
Howard qualified for 13 events in weeks leading up to the trip.
The all-business family trip to Iowa ended with Howard returning to Oklahoma with 11 awards, five bronze medals and six top-16 finishes.
“It was a lot of business because we would have to be at the pool at 7 a.m., we would leave at 1 p.m. and would have to be back at 4:30 and then we would be there until about 8:30 and that was Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” said Aydan’s mother, Stasha. “I was super happy for him. He just wants to swim and just to see him love it and love what he is doing just makes me excited to be there with him.”
The five bronze medals were won in the 200 breaststroke, 100 breaststroke, 400 free relay, 400 medley relay and the 200 medley relay.
While the top-16 finishes were in the 200 backstroke, 200 IM, 200 free, 100 free, 100 fly and the 100 backstroke.
“I was really excited and having my family there was really nice. I could look up, and I saw all of them cheering me on,” Aydan said.
In nearly each event that Howard competed in he returned home with a new personal best. When asked the toughest event he competed in while in Iowa, the 14-year old said the 50 free.
“I am really excited when the kids work as hard as they do in something they love and then they do this and go out there representing themselves in such a fashion. It just makes you proud in how they carry themselves,” Aydan’s father, Bryan said. I was hoping for at least one for his efforts. I never dreamed that it would be five bronzes and six top-16 finishes.”
The soon-to-be freshman may not be ready for school to start, but he is excited for swim season to roll around, so he can compete for Yukon High School.
The Howard family would like to thank all of those that donated money to allow them to make the trip and create some memories that will last a lifetime.