The Piedmont swim team will send a total of eight athletes to the Class 5A state swim meet at the Jenks Aquatic Center, where the prelims will be held Friday, with the finals set for Saturday.
Tyler St. John, Jarrod Rein, Justin Rein and John Anderson will compete for the boys team. All four with swim in the 200-meter individual medley and the 200-meter freestyle relay. Individually, Justin Rein will swim the 100 butterfly and the 200-yard individual medley. His brother, Jarrod, will also swim the 200 IM along with the 50-yard freestyle. St. John, meanwhile will swim the 50-free, and is seeded first in the 200 IM.
The top seed in the 200 IM, St. John has beaten his top competition, freshman John Ryan Cook of Carl Albert, three different times this season. But St. John has to avoid a letdown in the biggest race of his career.
“I’m kind of pressured, but then again I kind of have some confidence because I’ve beaten (Cook) each time I’ve raced him,” St. John said. “I think the most important thing is to not get a big head. You need to make sure you know you could be beat.”
In order, the 200 IM consists of 50 yards of butterfly, 50 yards of back, 50 of breaststroke and, finally, the 50 freestyle. St. John swims club with Cook, so he has the advantage of knowing Cook’s strengths and weaknesses in each leg of the race.
“After I finish the backstroke, I’m usually ahead by half a body length to a body length. Then on breaststroke he’ll catch up to me to be about even or almost half a body length ahead,” St. John said of racing Cook. “But every time I’ve swam it, I’ve caught back up and gotten ahead in freestyle and pulled out the win.”
St. John said he’ll conserve energy during the first part of the race to make sure he has enough left to overtake Cook in the freestyle if needed.
St. John says learned how to prepare for big meets as the favorite from his brother, Conner St. John, a four-time state champion. But this is the younger St. John’s first time in the position of favorite.
“I know his tactics,” said St. John of watching his older brother. “He was way faster than me, though, so he didn’t have as much pressure.”
Five girls — Megan Wortmann, McKenlee Foote, Yvie McCrary, Holly Organ and Rebecca Wood — are competing for four spots on the 400-meter freestyle relay team. A swim-off will decide which four go. More on why the swim-off is needed below.
Wortmann returns from freak injury
Bizarre off the field, or in this case out of the pool, injuries are, apparently, not-limited to professional baseball players. Just ask Piedmont sophomore Megan Wortmann.
Wortmann missed most of this season with a fractured elbow suffered from, of all things, tripping over, but not riding, a hover board during Christmas break.
“I was very worried when it happened, but I didn’t want to tell anybody. It hurt really bad, but I didn’t think it was my elbow,” Wortmann said. “Then my little cousin ran out of the room and went to get my aunt.”
With her cover blown, Wortmann went to the doctor. The prognosis was for Wortmann to miss at least six weeks — which meant missing regionals — and maybe longer.
“I was like, that’s a joke, right? No, that can’t be right,” she said.
Wortmann missed the six weeks and then some and was forced to watch regionals from the stands. She cheered on her team hard, though, because Wortmann knew she’d have a chance to swim at state if Piedmont’s relay team qualified.
“I was just as nervous or more than if I had been swimming myself,” she said. “I was on the edge of the pool getting their times.”
The 400-free relay finished 15th, just ahead of the 16th-place cutoff.
“I was really happy about it,” said Wortmann.
Organ makes cut in 50-free
Holly Organ was sure her time wasn’t good enough.
A senior swimming in the last regional meet of her career, Organ swam a second slower than expected in the race to qualify for state last two weekends ago in Edmond.
“I just thought there was no way,” Organ said of her chances to qualify.
As it turned out, Organ’s time was good for 24th-best, which qualified her for the state meet with the last available spot. It was her first time to make state in an individual event.
“I was like, Oh my God,” she said.
Now, Organ feels like she has a lease on life.
“Usually at big meets like this at the end of the year I cut time,” she said. “Last shot to cut time, so I’ll be ready.”