The first time Putnam North senior swimmer Parris Schoppa saw a starting block, she freaked out. She was a little scared.
It’s not because she had a fear of the starting blocks — it was because she had never seen any blocks before her high school days.
Schoppa used to swim in her neighborhood, beginning in sixth grade. When she entered high school, she figured, "I might as well do this,” and began swimming for Putnam North.
She gradually kept improving and put it all together in her senior season.
Her goal was to win the 50-yard freestyle state championship.
Schoppa did, but she also added the 100 free title and the Class 6A Girls Swimmer of the Year as voted by the coaches and now is The Oklahoman
’s All-City Girls Swimmer of the Year.
"She’s been a great leader and was always cheering on teammates,” said Putnam North junior Autumn Thomas. "She’d been so close before. We knew this would be her year.”
Schoppa had been knocking on the door for the title, placing third last year in the 50 free. The only noticeable difference, she said, was she grew taller. But that doesn’t explain how she got more than a second faster.
"At times, it was hard and frustrating, but I kept at it,” Schoppa said. "All the hard work was worth it.”