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January 30, 2014

Swimmers ready for conference

DUNCAN — It’s the last stop before regionals.

The Duncan swim team heads to Altus Thursday for the conference meet. The host school and the three Lawton schools (Lawton High, MacArthur and Eisenhower) will be the competition.

Altus will have a strong team, but Demon coach Andrew Bowers doesn’t want his swimmers taking anybody lightly, even after the Demons topped the Lawton schools during a Jan. 21 meet.

“We’ve got to concentrate on what we are doing and focus on our team, and let the times and scores speak for themselves,” Bowers said.

Duncan junior Leah Kafter said she and her teammates are focused on improving times, particularly in the relays.

“I’m hoping that everyone does their best and doesn’t get discouraged if they get a silver (medal),” she said.

At the same time, Bowers said it would be nice to see the Demons claim the conference championship.

“We pretty much know where we stand at this time of year,” he said. “We fully expect to go compete.”

Despite not being able to practice at The Simmons Center swimming pool for much of the season, the Demons have performed well and stayed focused, the coach said.

“These guys have gone through some things that no swim program should ever have to go through,” Bowers said. “But their attitudes have been awesome and their work ethic is good. They have come a long way, even without a pool.”

Senior Damon Demar said that practicing in the pool at Quality Inn-Duncan helped the team bond.

“Being in a smaller hotel pool, and being a smaller team, it made the whole team close and more friendly with each other,” he said.

Kafer agreed.

“We were not divided by lanes,” she said. “We have been closer friends than we were in past years.”

The conference meet will help the Demons prepare for the postseason meets, but it won’t determine anyone’s fate. Everyone will compete in the regional meet Feb. 7-8, the meet that will determine who advances to state. To reach the state meet, a swimmer or relay must finish in the top eight at regionals.

Demar said that the conference meet will help because the Demons’ conference opponents will also be at regionals.

“This will be a good time to see how we measure up,” he said.

On the girls’ side, Kafer said the goal is to improve times.

“It will give us a good idea of where we stand and what we need to do to improve in our relays and as individuals,” she said.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be bragging rights in Thursday’s meet.

“It will be a playoff atmosphere,” Bowers said. “Altus, Lawton and Duncan are always big rivals in almost every sport we play. There will be some excitement. Hopefully we will come out on top.”

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