Swim team eyes individual talent for 2017-2018 season
The most historically successful athletic program at Norman High is preparing for the upcoming season, and it isn’t basketball or soccer. In fact, it’s the swim team, which boasts a whopping seventeen state championships all-time, including a stretch in which NHS won fifteen out of twenty possible titles between boys and girls in the years 1974 to 1983.
Unfortunately, those glory years are long-gone. While other schools are competing for a team title this February, NHS will be aiming for a top five finish at best. The boys team has only nine swimmers, and the girls a mere three. This makes it all but mathematically impossible for the team to seriously compete for a state title, especially with the presence of powerhouses such as Norman North, Bartlesville, or Edmond North, whose teams have rosters several times the size of NHS’.
Some would say NHS’ lack of depth portends a dismal season in which the swim team sinks to the bottom of the OSSAA Rankings and stays there. Captain Isaac Trachtenberg would disagree.
“If everybody continues to work consistently throughout the season and make improvements and we come together as a team then a top five finish is definitely a possibility. During the couple of meets we’ve already had we’ve shown improvement. We’re coming together despite our lack of depth.”
Trachtenberg is a senior who is in his fourth year of swimming for the NHS team. He lists his personal goal as being the best leader he can be and qualifying for the State competition (swimmers individually qualify for State by attaining a top eight finish at Regionals), but maintains swimming is more of a team sport than individual.
“We definitely stay motivated. It’s one of those things where if you let yourself get down about having such a small team, knowing that the odds are against you, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. So we’re pretty good at remaining positive and getting excited before meets and going out and doing our best,” Trachtenberg said.
NHS isn’t the most elite team in the state, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have some of the most elite swimmers. Juniors Bruno Sasaki, Sophia Maag, and Caleb Sullivan will challenge for state titles this February, Sasaki in the Butterfly Stroke, Maag in the Breaststroke, and Sullivan in the Freestyle Event.