The Union Swim Team Has High Expectations

GTR Sport Writer

Courtesy Tracey Posey
READY FOR STATE: The Union Swim team is ready to compete for the state championship.

Union is hoping to make a big splash in the pool this season. 
It has been building up with some state champions in individual competitions in recent years. 
The girls are expected to be a contender for the Class 6A state title with the likes of seniors Courtney Posey, who has signed with New York University, Kendra vonHartitzsch and Madison Beam returning. 
Posey was the state gold medalist in the girls 200-yard freestyle last February.  
“I think we have the best girls swimming team Union has had in many years,” Coach Lynne Gorman said.
Jenks coach Diego Henao recently said Union will be the biggest challenge for his girls to repeat as team state champions (Jenks won both girls and boys team championships last year). 
“I think we’re going to be tough to beat,” Gorman said. “I hope we do rattle the cage. Union is a tremendous team. They have a lot of momentum. I don’t know how much we can rattle that cage, but we are certainly going to give it a shot. I tell the girls all the time if someone is going to beat you, let’s make them work hard. So we’re going to focus on our swimming and being excellent.” 
The boys will be smaller in numbers, but have solid swimmers back, including senior Danny Sibley, who has signed with Washington University in St. Louis, and junior Trenton vonHartitzsch, the younger brother of Kendra vonHartitzsch. Sibley was a state champion last year in the boys 500-yard freestyle. Trenton vonHartitzsch won the gold in the 100-yard breaststroke.
“Our boys’ team lost a lot of seniors last year, so we’re small. But our fastest swimmers have returned,” Gorman said. “Collectively, we don’t score as many points against a large team. They can outdo us just with entries, but we swim real well.”
On the boys’ side, we return Danny Sibley, who won events at state last year, and we return Trenton von Hartitzsch (junior), who was also state champion last year. They are by far the most outstanding boys on our team. The other boys are young and are up and coming and they are good. I think they’ll do quite well. We will have some excellent races.” 
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused adversity for Union just like other schools and other sports. Some swim meets have been canceled and the program was not able to compete in the All-State competition due to most swimmers being in quarantine.  
“We’ve had more meet cancellations than we’ve had meets,” Gorman said.
Union has competed in three meets so far in the early season. 
“We’ve done well in the meets. But it’s very different, very modified, no spectators in a lot of situations and it’s just all around very different,” Gorman added. 
The team had to cancel a scheduled trip to Edmond. A home meet with Owasso was also canceled, but they were able to get Bishop Kelley to come as a replacement. The girls won and the boys lost by 11 points, to a team that has won state the past two seasons in Class 5A. 
“I thought it was a really good competition for us and for (Kelley),” Gorman said. “It was a great meet. We all had fun. They had as much fun as we did, just getting to swim and feel some degree of normalcy.”
The girls also won a meet against Bartlesville. 
But the events Union values the most are those that come in February. 
“We really look forward to those meets where you have to make it through to the finals of regionals and state,” Gorman said. “That’s where we do well, because we have quality swimmers, not quantity.”
Both teams were thankful they got to the state meet last year. It took place three weeks before the pandemic forced closures and cancellations of events including the state basketball tournament.  
As for this season, Gorman said that the most challenging teams will be those who finished in the top six at state last year. 
Union placed third in the girls’ standings and fourth in the boys. 
Other top six finishers on the girls’ side were Jenks (first), Edmond North (second), Bixby (fourth), Bartlesville (fifth) and Shawnee (sixth. 
On the boys’ side, it was Jenks (first), Bartlesville (second), Norman North (third), Edmond North (fifth) and Shawnee (sixth). 

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