Class 5A state swimming notebook: Stillwater boys edge Altus to win first swimming title since 1974

The Pioneers finished sixth in the day's final race, the 400-yard freestyle relay, but scored just enough points to edge Altus 263-258 to win their first title since 1974.
by Jacob Unruh Published: February 22, 2014

Entering the final race Saturday, all Stillwater had to do was play is safe to win the Class 5A boys state swimming championship at Edmond Schools Aquatic Center.

The Pioneers did that, finishing sixth in the 400-yard freestyle relay but scoring just enough points to edge Altus 263-258 to win their first title since 1974.

“It's overwhelming; it's pretty awesome,” Stillwater senior Layne Njaa said. “We haven't done this in awhile and it feels pretty good.

“We weren't too confident (coming in). We knew we had a chance, but we weren't sure.”

But once Ben Cowles finished third in the 100 breaststroke to score 16 points and put Stillwater ahead of Altus 237-218 entering the final race.

Altus won the 400 freestyle relay, but it still wasn't enough.

“We just knew we had to do really safe starts,” Stillwater coach Kurt Goebel said.

Stillwater did not finish first in any event, making the win even more impressive. The Pioneers finished as high as second in the 200 medley relay and the 100 backstroke.

“It's all about getting kids in the finals and doing well,” Goebel said. “There are a lot of great swimmers on the west side who really helped us out. Once it really smoothed out, our depth paid off for us.”


Stillwater nearly made it a banner day, but Fort Gibson's girls continued their dominance with a convincing team win for the fourth straight year.

The Tigers trailed Stillwater 149-138.5 after 13 events, but then they won the 200 freestyle relay while the Pioneers received just two points to take a commanding 178.5-151 lead in the standings.

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by Jacob Unruh
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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