The Altus High School swimmers are class 5A’s top ranked program.
In what seems to be a common thread across multiple Bulldog sports, the road to a championship in 5A goes through Southwest Oklahoma.
Both the boys’ and girls’ teams enter the season with the number one program in the state. Both teams look to avenge their losses from a year ago this weekend. Last year at this time, the Bulldogs lost in Amarillo, Texas. Altus was already shorthanded due to illness having left some teammates at home that were unable to make the trip. Add to that more swimmers taking ill with virus while in Amarillo and struggling to compete. At the end of the day, the bus ride home was long and made longer having dropped the meet to Amarillo.
Saturday at 10 a.m., the Bulldogs look to square the score with Amarillo High School and Tascosa. Last year’s loss for the boys was one of only two meets that the Bulldogs failed to win. For the girls, it was one of only four losses.
The Bulldog boys are the defending class 5A state champs. This is a senior loaded bunch of swimmers and they enter the season on a mission to repeat as state champs. The team is led by senior, Daniel Brown. Brown already holds school records and the state championship in the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle. Daniel is the fastest sprint swimmer in the state of Oklahoma. He is also part of the 200 freestyle relay team that boasts state and school records in the event. The 200 freestyle state record is one of relay records held by the Bulldogs. “My goal for this group,” said Class 5A Coach of the Year Linda Wigington,. “is for them to hold all three state relay records.” Brown has committed to take his expertise in sprints to OBU next Fall. The boys were 5th in 5A academically.
The girl’s finished 8th in 5A a year ago. This was their second best finish since moving to 5A. They had an overall record of 18-4 and were third academically. The girl’s return six state qualifying point earners. “This bunch of girls will continue to work on their technique to boost their speed and improve their times,” said Wigington.
“We definitely have a target on our backs this year,” said Wigington. “Everyone will be gunning for us.”
Coach Wigington is assisted by her long time side kick, Michael Shive and volunteer assistant coach, J.D. Falkner.
Last Saturday, the boys and girls defeated Carl Albert, Del City, Midwest City, Wichita Falls and Abilene.
This Saturday’s meet against Amarillo and Tascosa is one of only six home meets this season. The Bulldogs have home meets on Dec. 11 against Mustang, Dec. 12 vs. Amarillo Christian, Dec. 15 vs. the Lawton schools, Jan. 8 vs. Harrah/Chickasha and the last home meet of the season is the Area Championships on Jan. 29.
Reach Brad Gilbert@482-1221 ext. 2076’