Miami’s fledgling swim team has made significant strides, according to coach Dawn Hill.

“All of the team members improved tremendously as the season progressed,” Hill said. “They all went from an American crawl to a smooth competition freestyle stroke and all of them were doing flip turns by the season’s end.”

MHS freshman Khyle Hill is the lone “veteran” in the bunch — he’s been swimming since he was 7 with the Jasper County Killer Whales out of Webb City, Mo.

The others —  freshmen Kaitlyn Clark and Keaton Lewis, sophomore John Rogers and junior Evan Fenska — are brand new to the sport. Their first competition was Nov. 13 at Fort Gibson.

They swam in another meet at Fort Gibson and in two at Bartlesville.

Khyle Hill qualified for the Class 5A state meet Feb. 20-21 at Oklahoma City Community College with a time of 57.02 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly and 23.18 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle, fourth best in Class 5A this season.

“Khyle thinks he can do better in the 100 Fly than the 100 free because his meter time converts to a 57.02 which also ranks up there pretty high,” Dawn Hill said. “He’s also thinking that some of those boys ranking higher than him in the 100 fly won’t be choosing the fly for their individual entry.”

Khyle also made state qualifying times in the 100-yard backstroke (1:01.03, fifth best), 200-meter individual medley (2:11.58, seventh best) and the 100-yard freestyle (51.76 seconds).

Swimmers can enter two individual and two relays at the state meet, so Hill picked his best two individual events.  

The best times for members of the MHS team included: Clark, 37.18 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle; Lewis, 1:34.29 in the 100-yard freestyle; Rogers, 36.16 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle, and Fenska, 1:31.30 in the 100-meter breaststroke.

“We will attend more meets next year, but four swim meets was enough for a beginning team,” Dawn Hill said.

The team practiced three times a week at the 5 Mile Camp pool located near Quapaw. 

“Next year we hope to use the pool at NEO,” Dawn Hill said. “We couldn’t use it this year because the renovation wasn’t completed until January.”