EDMOND — Harrah swimmer Riley Bunyard knew before the state championship meet what it took to win. The senior swam on Harrah's title-winning team in 2011.
But it was two state runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2013 that really paced Bunyard for a run at one more title to end his high school career.
He'll get that chance at Saturday morning's Class 5A championship meet.
Bunyard swam to an impressive first-place showing in the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle in Friday's preliminary rounds at Edmond Aquatics Center. He also swam in two relays, helping Harrah to qualify for Saturday's championships with two seventh-place finishes in both the 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay.
“Riley is right on track,” Harrah coach Guy Worth said. “He's got a game plan and he's held true to what he wanted to do. He said today he wanted to go 4:50 in that 500 and that's exactly what he did.”
Bunyard's qualify time of 4:50 was 16 seconds ahead of Carl Albert sophomore Alex Lawrence and 47 seconds ahead of the final qualifier, Bixby's Asher Huskinson.
“He kind of knows where his limits are and where he is at, he was consistent,” Worth said. “I'd say he was on cruise control. He was right in his zone.”
Bunyard said he was pretty happy with his time in the 200 freestyle but was quick to say he could improve on it. His goal for Saturday's championships races are to swim as fast as he can.
Of the three relay events, Harrah boys finished seventh in two and ninth in the other, the 200 medley relay. On the girls side, it was powerhouse Fort Gibson doing what they do best. The Tigers' relay team captured the best qualifying time in each of the three events.
The gap might be closing on the Tigers however. Fort Gibson won two of three relays by only one second; the team won the third relay by two seconds. Stillwater's girls team finished second in two of those three races.
Worth said the meets keep getting tougher and tougher with the teams getting so much better.
“I think it's interesting this year because there are so many schools doing so well,” Worth said. “People are pulling points from every direction. It's going to be a very close race on both sides.”
The Class 5A championships begin at 10:30 Saturday at Edmond Aquatics Center with the 6A championships to follow.