doc martens factory shop Swimming is family affair in Edmond
When 14 Edmond high school swimmers say their teammates are family, they mean it literally.
Edmond Memorial, North and Santa Fe have seven sibling pairs on their rosters as they head into regional competition this week.
At Memorial, one out of four athletes is part of a sibling pair. Swimming on the school’s 29 member team are Megan and Rachel Adler, Genna and Katie Callahan, Atticus and Keegan Leibrock, and Krista and Sydney Parker.
North’s 36 member roster features siblings Hannah and Sydney Brenning, and Alex and Emma Reynolds, while Santa Fe’s 21 member team includes Jonathan and Katherine Valles.
The teams also share another sibling link as sisters, Edmond Head Swim Coach Heather Devoe and North Site Coach Erin Devoe, are coaching their 11th season together in Edmond.
“Swimming is one of those unique sports in which siblings, no matter their year or gender, train and compete together,” Heather said. “Those connections always add to the team environment, so it’s exciting to have what we think could be a record number of siblings going into the championship season.
“And it’s always fun to share the work and excitement that goes into preparing our athletes with my sister,” Heather added, as Erin agreed.
For the athletes, swimming with their sibling has strengthened their bond as they serve as role models, encouragers and coaches to each other and experience well intentioned sibling rivalry.
Atticus, a senior, has had a sibling teammate three out of four years, swimming with older sister Carmen his freshman year and younger brother Keegan the last two.
“I’ve enjoyed hanging out on deck, swimming together and supporting one another,” said Atticus, noting his experience has been “about the same” whether he was the younger or older sibling.
“I thought it would be intense swimming with Atticus, but it hasn’t been that way at all,” said Keegan, a sophomore. “It’s been fun. We always high five and pat each other on the back after each race and wish each other well.”
The Parker sisters agree.
“I love being able to swim the same relays and events as Krista and supporting her behind the blocks,” said Sydney, a senior.
Krista, a freshman, recently enjoyed cheering her sister’s relay team on as they broke three Memorial school records in six days. But, she says, people often get her and Sydney mixed up.
“I guess it’s because we wear the same swim cap because we don’t look alike,” Krista said while laughing.
For Katie, a senior,
the best part of swimming with sister Genna is experiencing her improvements firsthand and pushing her to do her best.
“She recently swam the 500 freestyle and cut a huge amount of time,” Katie said. “I’ve never been so proud of her hard work and dedication.”
“It’s been great getting the team experience with my best friend and sister,” said Genna, a freshman. “On the way to my first swim meet, we listened to music and laughed, and then she gave me a pep talk that encouraged me so much.”
The swimmers, who typically share rides to and from the pool, say that the time in the car is just as special as the time on deck.
“I think I’m seeing my sister Rachel more than ever before because we’re in the car a lot going back and forth to swim,” said Megan, a senior.
“We listen to music and have a lot of sing a longs,” added Rachel, a freshman.
Jonathan, a junior, appreciates his sister’s help in keeping track of equipment, and Katherine, a freshman, loves that she can depend on him when she needs him. But when Katherine first told Jonathan she wanted to join him on the swim team, he worried.
“I thought my sister might not make the team,” Jonathan said. “So in the summer, I took her to the neighborhood pool and pushed her do more and offered some stroke coaching.”
Although Katherine admits she sometimes ignores his advice, she said, “Most of the time, I appreciate his help. I’m trying to beat his freshman times.”
The Brenning sisters, who have swum high school together three years, also enjoy the comradery and competition.
“I like that I always have my sister by my side. It has made us really close,” said Hannah, a junior.
“The hardest thing is trying to wish Hannah luck while trying to beat her at the same time,” Sydney, a senior, said.
Siblings Alex and Emma speak glowingly of each other’s accomplishments. Emma is proud her senior brother is a team captain, and Alex is impressed with his sister’s success as a freshman. At the same time, they revel in the sibling tension.
“We always compare swim times even though we swim best in different events. We tend to give each other a hard time,” Emma said. “I think as siblings we always compete against each other, but in the end, we say, ‘Good swim!