Norman North's boys swim team hasn't been beaten this season in a dual or swim meet and could be hoisting the school's first state championship trophy in swimming next month.
With two of the fastest swimmers in the state in sophomore Justin Wu and senior Tomas Elder, the Timberwolves defeated defending state champion Tulsa Union in the schools' only meeting this season at the All-State Preview. Last weekend, Norman North cruised to the title in the Casady-McGuinness Invitational.
“We have a lot of kids swimming fast,” said Norman North coach Kent Nicholson. “The main competition for us at state looks like it's going to be Tulsa Union and Bartlesville. I wouldn't be able to pick a favorite between the three of us. I would think that Tulsa Union would be considered by most to have the best chance to win.”
Nicholson, however, does acknowledge that Norman North has it strongest swim team ever. Wu has posted the fastest time in the state in the 200 and 500 freestyle and the 100 backstroke.
“Justin Wu is overall the best swimmer in the state,” Edmond swimming coach Steve Riggs said. “He is very versatile and can do a lot of different things.”
Elder is second to Wu in the 200 and 500 freestyle and has posted the fastest times in the 100 and 50 freestyle.
“He (Elder) is definitely the faster swimmer in the state this year,” Riggs said.
Both Wu and Elder are also members of Norman North's two-time defending state champion 200 medley relay with Alex Zhu (breastroke) and Kendon McGehee (freestyle). That relay, with Wu swimming the backstroke and Elder the butterfly, also has the fastest time in the state this season as has the Timberwolves 400 freestyle relay of Elder, Alex McMillen, McGehee and Wu.
“We've had a bunch of good teams here,” Nicholson said, “but we're as fast as we've ever been and much deeper than we've ever been.”
Riggs said depth is the key to Norman North winning a state championship. Schools can have as many as four swimmers in each event.
“I think his (Nicholson's) depth is good enough that most of the guys are going to score points at state,” Riggs said. “Union has some good swimmers, but Norman North just has a lot more of them.”
Norman North's last dual of the season is Thursday at Jenks. The Timberwolves then compete in the Mid-State Conference swim meet on the first weekend of February before the state championship meet on Feb. 15-16 in Jenks.
“We're just trying to get faster in these next two meets and go into state as ready as we can be,” Nicholson said.