Splashing once again as Invitational looms

 

It had been 29 days since the Yukon swim team hit the pool for action, due to a rescheduling of the Yukon Invitational.

The team last swam on Nov. 15 in Ponca City. They were scheduled to host their annual Yukon Invitational Dec. 8, when a winter weather threat cancelled it. On Dec. 14, the Millers got back to action.

Traveling to Altus, Yukon took third place in its first action in nearly a month. Coach Bruce Clifton was pleased with the results, given the obstacles they had to overcome.

“It’s definitely good for them to see (good competition) and compete against it,” he said. “Altus is a meter pool and a saltwater pool, so they’re more worried about the pool than they are about the other team.”

The difference in saltwater to freshwater and meters to yards shouldn’t throw them off their game, but it does.

“If you’re not used to swimming meters, it’s a little bit different,” Clifton said. “It really shouldn’t be, but I think it does get in their head a little bit.”

Despite the difference in style of pools, the Millers managed to have a solid outing.

Isaiah Auld took first place in the 100-meter breast. The junior placed second in the 100-meter fly.

Aydan Howard took two top-five finishes. In the 200-meter individual medly, he placed fourth at 2:50.14. In the 400 free, his 5:20.16 was good for third place.

For the girl’s, Johana Aguilera led the way.

Aguilera had two fifth place finishes. In the 200 free, she took fifth with a time of 2:49.62. Her other fifth place finish came in the 400 free at 6:20.07.

Both boys and girls’ “A” relay teams took fourth in the freestyle.

The team of Jordan Raley, Zoe Besabe, Keigan Davidson and Johana Aguilera had a time of 2:23.88. The boys’ team of Phillip Monsey, Dane Bouse, Aydan Howard and Isaiah Auld took fourth at 1:58.98.

The girls team took fifth in the 400 free relay, and the boys took fourth in the same category.

Though they managed to swim strongly, Clifton is not done tinkering with lineups.

“Right now, I’m still playing around with them,” he said. “Seeing what we need to get because that’s going to be the biggest question mark coming into regionals this year with the new teams added to 6A. We’ve always been able to, at least, get our relays to state, and this year, that’s a question mark.”

The swimmers will get assistance in developing their strokes, thanks to a new assistant coach.

Craig Hubbard recently came on as Clifton’s assistant. Having Hubbard will help the swimmers get more help where they need it.

“If he can keep the veterans going, I can work with the ones that really need tweaking,” Clifton said. “I can spend more time addressing issues I haven’t had time to address.”

Though Clifton doesn’t have experience working with the inexperienced swimmers, he’s confident the veterans will cooperate with the new assistant.

“They’re really self-motivated kids,” said Clifton. “All you have to do is give them some direction. They definitely have a desire to excel.”

Looking toward Saturday, the Yukon Invitational should provide a test for the Millers at this point in the season. Though they had to move it back, not many schools pulled out.

Moore was the only 6A school that declined to make the trip to Mitch Park. This would have been their first season to do so for the Yukon Invitational.

Most of the schools that are still planning to participate won’t be bringing their full team. Despite that, Clifton believes the invitational will be a measuring stick for his team moving forward.

“Honestly, I have no clue where we stack up against everybody,” he said. “At Altus, we came in third, and there were about six or seven teams there. It really wasn’t bad for where we are right now.

“I’m interested to see where we fall into all of this.”

The Yukon Invitational will take place at Mitch Park in Edmond Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

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