Swimmer wraps season with championship


Patten takes his mark for one of his final races in the Sheridan Junior High School pool. (Photo Bailey Hanson)

It was senior night for Sheridan High School boy’s team and Oscar Patten’s last swimming competition in the pool he has called home for as long as he can remember. During his Senior night presentation Patten offered his advice to underclassmen: “Find something you love and stick to it. One day you will be great at it.”

Patten has been swimming for nearly half his life. Ever since he was ten years old, he has been swimming competitively and has practiced under several different coaches throughout his years but has been with his current coach, Brent Moore, for the past eight years.

Patten has tried other sports as well, such as football in junior high and elementary school, but he enjoys individual sports more. This led him to also try cross country. He ran cross country for three years but decided to focus on swimming full time during his senior year. Patten made this decision after understanding that he was performing better in swimming and had more of a future in the sport.

Instead of running, Patten swam with the girls for the entirety of their season in order to improve during the off-season and in the final year of his high school swimming career. However, even with all of the preseason training he did, the road to a successful final year was not easy for Patten.

One month before the season started on November 4th, Patten’s knee locked up and could not move it. He went to the hospital to get an MRI in order to find the problem. He was informed that he had a torn meniscus. The chances of surgery repairing the meniscus was very low, so they decided to take it out. Patten had surgery the morning after his knee locked up and started his road to recovery. After the surgery, Patten was on crutches for four weeks and was not able to be in the pool swimming during this time. When he finally got back into the water, he had to make up for lost time with State only two and a half months away.

Throughout the season, Patten showed continual improvement by breaking several records including some that were his own and others that were decades old. The most impressive record he has broken this year was the 100-meter freestyle. It was during the Sheridan invite at the end of Christmas break with nearly every team from across the state at the early building pool next to the Junior High school. He knew it was his last time swimming the 100 in a meter pool, so he had to make it count.

He got on the blocks and swam with all of his heart but missed the record time by less than a second. Patten was devastated that he had missed not only one, but three school records all by less than a second at one of his last home meets. But then an idea came up while talking to his coach about his race. If he led off the final 400-meter freestyle relay he would be swimming a 100-meter race that would qualify for breaking the school record if he could do it. He asked his teammate who was leading the relay off if he could have the spot. His teammate was hesitant at first but eventually gave him the leadoff. Patten knew he was given the chance because his teammates believed in him and did not want to disappoint them, he shattered the old school record by .46 seconds going a time of 53.98.

The extra practice did him well with him doing the best he has ever done at state placing…

Besides swimming, Patten enjoys spending time with his teammates away from the pool when he is not busy working on school work.

Beyond high school, Patten plans to swim in college at the University of Wyoming where he would do mostly freestyle events. He is excited to swim for a division one college because of the challenge it will bring. Patten would like to get a business degree while he competes for UW. Afterwards, he plans to become an accountant for a while and then start his longtime dream of owning a restaurant.

Patten is the son of Tom and Gwen Patten.