Lebanon’s Dakota Windsor has been dominant in the pool.
Windsor earned all-state in four events a year ago and has bigger plans for his final state meet this season.
At the Ozark Conference swim meet, Dakota Windsor was hard to miss.
“We actually found [the panda mascot head] in the trunk of one of my teammate’s cars right before we left for the meet, so I just figured I wear it. I just figured it’s my senior year just come in and have fun, show up and no one is expecting it,” Dakota said.
The panda head doesn’t make Dakota swim faster, but it represents an important part of what makes him so good.
“He makes it so much easier to coach, he does, and he makes it fun. He tries to make it fun for everybody else,” said Lebanon Swim Coach David Krev.
However, once the panda head comes off its go-time for Dakota.
“I visualize the race, the turns, the underwaters, the breakouts,” he said.
Once he gets in the water, he’s hard to beat. Dakota dominates in the 100-yard butterfly and breaststroke.
“He’s got a lot of upper body strength and he’s learned the strokes. Whoever taught him how to swim, he listened, and he learned the strokes he has all the techniques. He doesn’t swim as much as everybody else because he pushes off the wall and he glides longer. He’s just a faster swimmer,” added Krev.
He’s fast but doesn’t show all his cards early.
“The fun part is he’s a come-from-behind swimmer. He is never in front after the start and then he just starts charging from the end,” Krev said.
Krev has been Dakota’s coach throughout high school and as his final state meet nears he has no doubt Dakota will finish where he wants.
“Freshman year he said he wanted to make state, we did. He looked at me and said ‘I want to be in finals next year,’ and we were. Last year he was like ‘I want to be in the top 8,’ he was and he finished in the top 8 in both events and our relays. This year he says he wants to be in the top 2, no doubt in my mind he’ll be in the top 2,” said Krev.
The only question is will the panda make a state meet appearance?
“We might get me a yellowjacket one for state,” Dakota said.
The State Championship Swim Meet is November 11-12.