The Oklahoma Christian University swim team compiled a long list of record-breaking firsts and had nine Eagles receive All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) honors this spring, in just their second season of existence.
To be recognized as a first-team swimmer in the RMAC, a swimmer or relay team must place in the top two of a Rocky Mountain championship event. Finishers in third and fourth receive second-team honors.
Freshman Bergen Davis earned first-team recognition in the 200-yard backstroke and 400 individual medley with second-team honors in the 100-yard backstroke. Davis became the first individual in the two-year program to be named RMAC Freshman of the Year.
Sophomore Noah Woolweever earned honors in two individual events, as a first-team selection in the 100 backstroke and a second-team selection in the 200 backstroke.
Brandon Heredia, who became Oklahoma Christian’s first RMAC conference champion after winning the 100 freestyle, joined the list of first-teamers along with 200 breaststroke Oklahoma Christian record holder Zac Hawes.
Heredia, who battled injury in the fall, said the swim team was aware of the negative expectations other schools had of Oklahoma Christian heading into the conference meet.
“Being a second-year program, not many people expected anything from us going,” Heredia said. “At practices, there was a running joke going around. We said, ‘They don’t know,’ meaning the competition doesn’t understand what we are capable of. We started posting great times, and we made a name for ourselves at conference.”
Sophomore Derek Duckworth received second-team honors in the 100 freestyle and said, despite frequently competing among other Oklahoma Christian swimmers, there is a great team atmosphere.
“Everyone was cheering for each other, and it felt like a true team,” Duckworth said. “We were lifting each other up, and it made us go even faster than we thought we could go.”
Four Oklahoma Christian relay teams received All-RMAC honors. The 800 freestyle relay team, consisting of Heredia, Duckworth, Hawes and freshman Gavin Lane, made the first-team list after finishing as the runner-ups in the RMAC meet.
Rounding out the remaining relays, the 200 medley relay (Woolweever, Hawes, Duckworth and sophomore Kurt Gscheidle), 200 freestyle relay (Heredia, Duckworth, Gscheidle and sophomore Griffin Cornell) and 400 medley relay (Woolweever, Hawes, Gscheidle and Heredia) all received second-team All-RMAC honors.
Hawes, the runner-up in the 200 breaststroke at the RMAC meet, said the team has consistently developed since its inaugural season.
“We had a great team effort at conference and made great strides from last year,” Hawes said. “There were many breakout performances that give us a lot to look forward to next year.”
Oklahoma Christian broke 19 school records during the RMAC meet.
Freshman Andrew Ehler now holds the fastest times for the 500 freestyle (4:39:61), 1000 freestyle (9:41:21) and 1650 freestyle (16:10:67). Davis and Hawes are currently tied with Ehler for most individual records held as an Oklahoma Christian swimmer.
For a comprehensive look at the records broken during the 2019 season, click here.
The majority of Eagle swimmers have concluded their season, but those who posted B-qualifying times—Davis (400 individual medley, 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke), Heredia (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle) and Duckworth (50 freestyle)—are waiting to hear the designated cut times to see if they will compete in the Division II Championships March 13-16.