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Jenks Gazette

Jenks Swimmers Hope for Championship Repeat

GTR Sports Writer

READY FOR EDMOND: Jenks senior swimmers Jon Jin and D.J. Smith hope to thrive in the Class 6A state swim meet, respectively, for both the Trojan boys and girls. 

Jenks hopes to repeat as Class 6A state champions at the state swimming meet in mid-February.

However, the second-ranked Trojans will face a challenge because the meet will be in Edmond rather than their home at the Jenks Aquatic Center, where they won it last year.  

“I think we did have an advantage by hosting state last year. That was like a comfort zone. That helped keep us calm,” boys’ senior Jon Jin says. “I think going to Edmond for the (2018) state championship is going to have us out of our comfort zone.”

Nevertheless, Jenks swimmers are confident.

“The season has been a little rough,” Jin says. “We started out pretty slow, but I think as a team, we’re getting better. I think we’ll go a lot faster by the time state comes by.”

The Lady Trojans, ranked fourth, also hope to make noise in Edmond. They finished tied for fourth at state a year ago.

Girls’ senior D.J. Smith says, “We’ll lose a bit of our edge because for the past couple of years we have had state in our home pool, and I feel like having it in an away pool can be intimidating because we’re not used to it. But, with the right motivation, the girls can forget that it’s not their pool and they can dominate even though they are not at home.”

Once again, Norman North is the team to beat for the boys, and Bartlesville is it for the girls.

Jin says, “Norman North is definitely the team to beat. I don’t know who else can contend. They have some of the best swimmers in the state.”

Smith says, “They (Bartlesville) have a lot of really fast girls that are fun to compete with because you see them for the four years that you’re with them. You get faster and they get faster and you want to get the edge off of one of those girls. You want to show them that you’re just as fast as they are and you can score just as high.”

Jin and the rest of the Trojans were victorious at the Class 6A East regional on the boys’ side earlier this month. Jenks finished with 570 points, with Bartlesville taking second with 372.50. The Trojans took first-place medals in six events.

Along with teammates Austin Bick and Andrew Truong, both sophomores, and Austin Sung, a freshman, Jin was part of the 200-yard freestyle relay team who won with a time of 1:31.53. Jin, Bick, Truong and Jazz Widney, another freshman, teamed up for the 400-yard freestyle relay, which they won with a time of 3:18.79.

Other events the Trojans captured were the 200-yard medley relay (Widney, seniors Christian Burke, Justin Sung, and sophomore Morne Wolmarans, 1:40.85), 200-yard individual medley (Bick, 1:59.92), 100-yard butterfly (Widney, 53.92) and the 100-yard breaststroke (Wolmarans, 1:01.53).

“I think the strength of this year’s team is definitely in the distance,” Jin says. “Distance helped carry us last year, and I think it is going to help carry us this year. We’re pretty good on the freestyle events. I think Norman North can still beat us, but we have a lot of good swimmers who can score a lot of points. Our other strokes, they’re a little weak this year, but I still think they’ll pull something off.”

Smith and the rest of the Lady Trojans took second in the meet on the girls’ side. They finished with 301 points while Bartlesville took first with 518. The highest finish for the Jenks girls was second in the 200-yard freestyle relay, in which Smith, along with freshmen Josie Jones, Jasmine Rau and Laney Fenton finished with a time of 1:45.74. Bartlesville won that event with a time of 1:39.12.

As they head to state, Jin and Smith have a deep appreciation for being part of a swimming team that seems to be more than just a program.

“I like the feeling of family I have here, because there had been a couple of times this year where I can come in and be having a bad day and the girls would see that,” Smith says. “I would go in the locker room and I would have tears or just a frown on my face and they’ll come and ask me if I’m okay.  Some of the boys will see that too and they’ll be like, ‘D.J., are you okay?’ And I’ll say, yeah, I’m having a rough time, and they’ll be like, ‘Well, you can come find us if you’re just feeling bad,’ and it’s been that way all four years of my high school career.”

“I think the people on the Jenks swim team are really fun and really interesting,” Jin says, adding, “I love my team.”

Updated 02-20-2018

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