Swim, Dive Panthers Represents Oak At State

Young team makes finals, finishes strong in final meet of season


Taryn Kooyers

All swimmers warm up in the Lee & Joe Jamail Aquatic Center before the races start. Six Oak athletes competed in the weekend-long State meet in mid-February.

With the swim season preparing to come to an end, swimmers from all over Texas met in Austin to compete in the U.I.L State Swim Meet. As the six KO qualifiers readied to load the bus, they were cheered on by the Strutters and cheerleaders Thursday, Feb. 14 as they left Oak to begin their State journey.

The boys were ready to race to make it to finals. The first event was the 200 Medley Relay with junior David Oderinde, junior Collin Fuchs, freshman Brenden Massey, and sophomore Hunter Bangham. They boys finished 10th going in seeded 2nd in the B final. At finals they rallied each other in hopes of winning the heat, which they did.

“All four of us just wanted to do our best so we could drop time and place as high as we possibly could,” Massey said.

Not only did Oderinde swim the relays, but he also swam 50 free and 100 fly. He placed 9th in prelims for 50 free and 10th in 100 fly. With the plan of dropping time in finals, Oderinde finished 9th in both 50 free and 100 fly in finals.

“I ate the right food and drank lots of water to keep myself hydrated. I also warmed up and listened to music that kept me focused on my goals of dropping time,” Oderinde said.

Fuchs swam the 100 back squeezing into A final in 8th place. Fuchs did everything he could to prepare himself in order to finish 6th overall in the state.

“My plan was to go in and have a good time. I’ve known what to do for my race already and I know that I’d be fine because I’ve spent my whole season training for this,” Fuchs said.

Freshman Hunter Lund swam the 500 free with a plan to hopefully make finals and drop time. Lund ended up finishing 19th in the state as a freshman.

“It was very different and humbling experience racing juniors and seniors,” Lund said.

The boys team finished the meet strong in the 400 free relay with Oderinde, Fuchs, Bangham, and Lund. The boys placed 4th in prelims ready for finals the next day. They ended up finishing 4th overall.

“We were all super excited to be in the top final. We all just wanted to go all in and just race to do the best we could. Although we didn’t get top three, we are proud of our swims,” Bangham said.

Representing Klein Oak diving at State, junior Emily Mack was seeded 7th going into finals. She said she was very excited to place 8th overall at her first time at State.

“State was a blast! It was so much fun getting to hang out with the team and be able to watch everyone compete. For three straight weeks I worked on my State diving list for a total of 45 hours. I can’t wait to go again next year!” Mack said.