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Gold rush for PHS Swimming at State

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont’s Conner St. John poses with the three gold medals he won at the State swimming meet this past weekend at the Mitch Park YMCA Aquatic Center in Edmond.

By Evan Grice

Sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

It was perhaps the finest hour for the Piedmont swimming program in its history.

At the state finals this past weekend in Edmond at the Mitch Park YMCA Aquatic Center, the PHS swimmers managed to bring home four state championships, and in the process set the tone for the future.

As a team, the Wildcats finished in fifth overall, despite having the lowest number of participants on their squad on the boy’s side.

While the Lady Wildcats finished 17th overall as a team, all four swimmers in Holly Organ, Darien Kohpay, Mikayla Lunsford and Kasey Rein all qualified for the state meet.

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont’s Kasey Rein poses with her gold medal she won during the 200 IM event at the State meet held at the Mitch Park YMCA Building in Edmond. Rein finished her career as a five-time state champion for the Piedmont swimming program.

The meet though was bittersweet as it was the last time Kasey Rein will swim as a member of the Piedmont swim team. She finished her career with a fifth state championship in the 200 IM events, just narrowly missing a sixth in the 100 yard backstroke, as she came in second.

Following the meet, Kasey reflected on the journey which the Piedmont swimming program has taken her on, and praised her teammates for developing and improving throughout the season.

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont’s Kasey Rein swims a leg of the 200 yard individual medley event Saturday afternoon at the Mitch Park YMCA Aquatic Center in Edmond. Rein won her fifth state championship overall on the day.

“I never thought I would have been able to come so far in my four years,” she said about her time as a Piedmont swimmer. “I’m very thankful that I have been given the opportunity with this team and I’m very blessed. Our boys’ team has done amazing this whole season, and I knew they could pull it off at state. Especially Conner (St. John), because he’s been so awesome all season long.”

“My mom (Coach Oralia Rein) might not have a lot of swimming experience under her belt, but she does run this program very well.”

Piedmont got its day off to a flying start when the 200 yard medley relay team of Conner and Tyler St. John along with Jarrod Rein and Lane Tooman managed to claim a state title by 0.09 seconds ahead of Stillwater with a time of 1:44.02.

“It was pretty nerve racking early on at the beginning of the meet,” Jarrod Rein said. “But, I’m very proud and very amazed at what we were able to accomplish as a team this season. I can’t wait to come back next year and see what we can do.”

Piedmont almost claimed another relay championship in the 400 yard medley relay, but the team of Conner and Tyler St. John along with Jarrod and Justin Rein were edged out by Altus as the Bulldogs finished with a time of 3:23.34 just ahead of the Wildcats time of 3:23.97.

“I was very proud of my teammates for how we performed in the 400 relay,” Conner said. “Considering we were fifth at one point in the event, finishing second was a great surprise for us.”

Conner St. John made sure to add to his collection of state championships by winning the 100 yard breaststroke event with a time of 59.72 and also the 200 IM event with a time of 1:55.83.

Head coach Oralia Rein said she was very proud of all of her swimmers for the performances they put in during the state finals.

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont’s 200-Yard Medley Relay team poses with the state championship medals they won after winning their event on Saturday morning. Pictured from left to right, back row Conner St. John (JR), Jarrod Rein (FR). Bottom Row, Lane Tooman (SR), Tyler St. John (FR). Piedmont won the event with a time of 1:44.02 which edged out Stillwater for the title.

“Their hard work has paid off,” she said. “I knew Conner was going to step up, and I’m just surprised at how well everyone else stepped up this weekend. I’m very proud for all of them. The St. John’s are great and Tyler is very mature for his age. I’m very excited for the future with these kids.”

Coach Rein added she was very proud of Kasey and admitted she was sad to see her daughter’s high school career come to an end, but excited to see her perform in college.

“She’s (Kasey) had a lot of ups and downs there’s no doubt about that,” she said. “The ups have really made the downs worth it though. I’m going to miss her in this program. She’s a good kid and a great daughter and I love her very much.”

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