By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Swimming outdoors is nothing new for the Mid-Del swim team.
They practice all summer at the outdoor Eagle Harbor Aquatic Center in Del City.
Last weekend, they got a taste of open water competition. Five swimmers took part in the annual North Texas Open Water Swim Challenge Sunday morning at Cedar Hill State Park in Cedar Hill, Texas.
Carl Albert’s Shane McClung, Cache Burk, Kaleb Smith, and Donna Antonelli, and Del City’s Tyler Townsend competed in the one-mile race across Joe Pool Lake. The group placed in the top 15 out of nearly 300 swimmers.
“The DFW area is way ahead of us with swimming, so for all of us to go there and finish in the top 15 is really cool,” said Mid-Del coach Josh Norman.
McClung led the way for Mid-Del with a sixth-place finish in 27:30. The senior won the boys 13-17 age division.
Burk, who is an incoming freshman, was eighth place overall at 31:20, followed by Smith in ninth (32:10). They finished second and third in the boys 13-17 division.
Townsend was 12th overall (34:30) and the winner in the mens 18-24 division. Antonelli was 14th overall (35:00) and took first place in a competitive girls 13-17 division.
Norman also competed in the event. He placed seventh overall and won his age division.
“Our senior (McClung) killed it and beat me by a little over a minute,” Norman said.
Norman said he invited the distance swimmers to compete in the event as a way to broaden their horizons for swimming. In Oklahoma high school meets, the longest race is the 500-yard freestyle.
“Our distance kids think the 500 is the biggest and baddest event, but in college there is a mile race and some colleges have an open water team,” Norman said. “It helped reshape their idea of what distance swimming is. After this, they didn’t think the 500 was nearly as scary.”
Norman said the team parents were supportive of the event and drove the kids to the event. The team and parents stayed in a hotel Saturday night and had a team dinner. The race started at 7 a.m. Sunday.