Senior Emma Travis, Sophomores Kinsey and Khloe Price and Junior Olivia Smith
By CHUCK LANDIS – email@example.com
MIER – Emma Travis wants to have a grand sendoff not only for her high school career but for retiring Oak Hill girls’ swim coach Mark Yordy this evening at the IHSAA state finals meet.
“There’s a level of excitement just going to state, and I will be honored to be part of his last team,” Travis said Thursday afternoon.
Travis anchors the Golden Eagles’ 200-yard freestyle relay team that includes sophomore twins Khloe and Kinsey Price and junior Olivia Smith. The relay, minus Smith, also competed in the state last year and finished 21st out of 32 teams.
The meet begins at 6 p.m. today at the IUPUI Natatorium with preliminary round competition, and the top 16 teams return Saturday for the consolation and championship finals. Admission is $8 per session.
Oak Hill has been represented in four straight state swimming and diving meets and six of the last seven years. The 200 freestyle relay is chasing down the school record of 1:39.24 and was less than one-half second off that pace in the sectional with a 1:39.89 to finish fifth at the Fishers Sectional.
“They have been there before and it won’t seem like as big a stage as it was last year,” Yordy said. “Last year, they were excited to be there and this year they want to drop time. We feel like we have good room for improvement.”
Smith was ill and missed practices Wednesday and Thursday, but Yordy said she plans to compete this evening. Yordy said Smith should handle her 50-yard split without much difficulty, but it could impact the team’s chances of obtaining the school record.
The same four girls set the medley relay school record during the season. Khloe Price bested one of the oldest individual records in the 200 freestyle and overtook Christian Tyner’s 20-year-old mark.
Being together on relay teams the past two years should be beneficial at the state finals, Khloe Price said.
“We have learned each others’ rhythms, and I just love being with them,” Khloe Price said. “They make me push myself harder, and we all support each other.”
Kinsey Price said obtaining the school record will come down to each swimmer performing their task. But their most important objective is honoring their coach.
“We just got to trust each other that each of us will go fast enough,” Kinsey Price said. “It will be emotional and in the end we’re going to go out and make our coach proud.”
Travis will continue to swim after graduation from Oak Hill this spring and will be part of Indiana Wesleyan University’s first women’s swim team in 2017-18. She said she will miss her relay teammates and swimming for coach Yordy, but is ecstatic that she exits in the state finals.
“It’s a big, grandiose experience, and to do it again with these same girls grounds you and inspires you,” Travis said. “There’s a lot of comfort in that.”
“I want to make coach Yordy’s last year memorable and I’m glad to be part of it,” she added.
Yordy still has the boys’ swimming and diving team to prepare for postseason competition beginning next week. He has been the Eagles’ coach since the program’s inception more than 30 years ago.