MOORE — Normally, you can sense when someone is about to make a breakthrough in high school swimming. Based on times and results, it’s usually easy to see if someone is a year away from something special.
But that’s what makes Westmoore junior Dakota Wheeler so special. There was nothing to indicate that he was going to have the year he did. Wheeler didn’t just win the 100-yard butterfly and breaststroke state championships, he dominated in the events and has been named The Oklahoman’s All-City Boys Swimmer of the Year. "He’s just progressed as far as you possibly can since I’ve known him,” said Chickasha sophomore Isaac McKnight. "It’s like the light bulb went off in his head.” McKnight has been practicing with Wheeler the last two years, and the two have become great friends. Three years ago, Wheeler wasn’t a swimmer. He said he started the sport because it was something he hadn’t done yet. He had played baseball, soccer and competed in gymnastics. And swimming wasn’t something he excelled at initially. "I had a lot of drive. I just wanted to keep getting better and didn’t want to quit,” Wheeler said. While the determination was there, the results weren’t. In the same events last year, Wheeler placed 11th in the butterfly and seventh in the breaststroke. Wheeler said he didn’t do anything special during the last season for his success. "I just really wanted to win state and put in a lot of work whenever I could,” Wheeler said.