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Plus, no one has to sit the bench,” Shannon Smith said. The Kemp family of Guymon is another strong testament to the family in- volvement of the Gators. Dylan Kemp started swimming at age 6 in Spearman, Texas. He joined the Gators in 2012 when his family moved to Guymon. His father Lance serves on the Gators board of directors and was instrumental in pitching the idea of a high school swim team to the Guymon School District in 2013. Although it had been proposed in the past, last year was the fi rst year it was passed successfully. Dylan’s mother Hope Kemp volunteered as the assistant coach for the high school team in 2013-2014 and will serve as head coach this school year. Now 15, Dylan regularly goes to swim camps and teaches swim les- sons to younger children at the local YMCA. Dylan Kemp said, “Swimming is something I’m accomplished at so I enjoy


it.”


In past years, Dylan Kemp has gone beyond the WKSC championship meet to qualify for division meets through Missouri Valley Swimming as well as USA Central Zones meets. As a freshman on the Guymon High School team last year, he qualifi ed to swim at the state meet in two events at regionals. His best event is the breaststroke. “The high school team wouldn’t have been started if it weren’t for the summer Gators team and the availability of our local YMCA,” Hope Kemp said. “The high school team gives our athletes the advantage of staying in top form and shape throughout the year. College scouts are also more likely to look at high school teams than summer teams for talent so that’s a big plus.” Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC) serves both the Guymon and Elkhart communities so most swimmers are members. A strong supporter in the past, the cooperative continued its support with a full-page heat sheet ad this year. “We appreciate all local businesses and individuals who support the team through heat sheet ads and community fundraisers,” Mussman said. “We wouldn’t be able to achieve what we have or purchase the equipment we need without the community’s support.” Two new swimmers this year are the children of Trey Long, a TCEC service


technician, and his wife Janet. Their son Rance Long, age 10, said, “I like swimming relays best. It’s fun meet- ing new people.” When asked what she liked least about swimming, their daughter Laramie, age


7, said, “Getting up early and getting into the cold water is hard.” With more than 70 swimmers this year, the Guymon Gators is a strong tradi- tion in the Guymon and Elkhart communities. “I’d encourage everyone to check into options for local swim programs like this one,” Kendra Smith said. “Kids will learn lifelong skills while building new friendships, good character, strong leadership skills, and will learn to set and reach goals that will help boost their confi dence and self-esteem.” Shannon Smith said she was blessed to be Emily’s coach for some of the time she swam with the Gators. “Emily was a joy to coach,” Shannon Smith said. “She had such pretty form. I remember her strokes specifi cally because she had so little splash while swim- ming, which is unusual. She was so smooth and calm in the water. Truly an angel.”


JuliAnn Graham, a regular Oklahoma Living contributor, is the communications coordinator at TCEC.


“The way people rallied around her and her family, that’s the spirit of the Gators. She was an amazing girl. It’s like she’s still with us at every single meet.”


- Cassandra Mussman, president of the Guymon Gators board


The Guymon Gators supported Emily throughout her treatments. “We’re just like a big extended family,” Kim El-Amoudi said. Photo courtesy of Cassandra Mussman


AUGUST 2014 23


When you wake up at 5:30 every morning in the summer to be at practice at 6:00,


when you have experienced how the kind-hearted yet tough and fi rm coaches cheer and yell for you to fi nish the race,


when you see swimmers running everywhere try- ing to see the race or getting out of the pool and trying to get somewhere on time,


when you suddenly fi nd yourself tired and wanting to stop swimming lap after lap as your body is ach- ing and you know “I can’t stop now,” then you get to the wall and hear the crowd chant your name over and over,


when the end of summer comes and you have all these awards from swimming day after day and you have done the best you could ever have, you will then know what it takes to be a Guymon Gators swimmer.


- Emily wrote this in 2011 while in 7th Grade


What it takes to be a Guymon Gator swimmer


By Emily Janine El-Amoudi Nov. 24, 1997 - July 19, 2012


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