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February 18, 2014

Demons send four swimmers to state

DUNCAN — Four Duncan boys swimmers are headed to the Class 5A state meet.

Seniors Damon Demar and Brennan Dehart, sophomore Charles Espinola and freshman A.J. Stewart qualified for state after claiming top-eight finishes during the West regional meet last Friday and Saturday in Edmond.

“They swam their butts off at regionals,” said Demon swim coach Andrew Bowers. “All of the boys, whether in individuals or relays, shaved multiple seconds off their times.”

The five-member Demon squad — freshman Chad Harp also competed — scored 158 points, placing sixth out of 21 teams. Altus won the meet with 384 points.

“That’s quite an accomplishment considering we had just five boys on the team,” said Bowers. “Other coaches were coming up to me, complimenting us on how well we did.”

Espinola took first in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 56 seconds, breaking the previous Duncan school record of 58 seconds. He said he was happy with how he swam and expects a good showing at state.

“I looked at the other regional and there were just two other people who swam a faster time, so I have a good chance of getting third at state,” Espinola said.

Demar took second in the 50-meter freestyle in 22.43, finishing just .19 seconds behind Altus’ Garrett Thompson.

The two joined DeHart and Stewart to take second in the 200-meter medley relay (1:47.54), third in the 200 freestyle relay (1:34.46) and fifth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:34.61).

DeHart added a sixth-place finish in the 100 freestyle (52.18) and Stewart took eighth in the 100 breaststroke (1:14.76).

Bowers said the times show how hard the swimmers have worked all season.

“Damon and Brennan have shown tremendous leadership and the younger ones have followed right in their footsteps,” he said. “Their attitudes have been positive all season long.”

Espinola said he and his teammates were happy with their performances and hope to get more athletes to join the team next season.

“We just faced a bunch of good competition and we did our best,” he said. “We hope to do even better at state.”

The Demon girls didn’t qualify any swimmers for the state meet, but Bowers was pleased with their performances. A highlight was Hannah Looney reaching the finals in the 200 freestyle.

“That’s a big compliment for her,” Bowers said. “It’s the first year she has swam that event and it’s one of the more difficult events. To get to the finals shows how hard she has worked.”

The Demons will return to Edmond this Friday and Saturday for the state meet. Bowers said knowing what the facility will be like is a plus.

“They all really loved swimming in that pool,” he said. “Hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”

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