GRESHAM — When Casey McEuen was a freshman, he received strong praise from Summit High's Tommy Brewer, the 5A state record holder in the 50-yard freestyle, at the state championships.
“After the meet he walked up to me and he’s like, ‘you’re a really fast freshman and I believe that you can break my record before you are out of high school,’” McEuen, a Lebanon High junior, recalled Saturday morning at the 5A state meet at Mt. Hood Community College.
That conversation was all the drive McEuen needed.
McEuen made Brewer prophetic on Saturday as he broke the Summit swimmer’s record of 20.80 seconds with a 20.60 to take home the state title.
“Of all the people in 5A, if you’re choosing me to go after your record, I’m going to do it for you,” McEuen said of what the conversation meant to him. “And I did. I’m really happy and content with my performance today.”
McEuen swam a 20.90 at the Mid-Willamette Conference district meet last weekend. That was when he started to think a state record for 5A was within his grasp.
McEuen also avenged a disappointing disqualification in the prelims of the 50 free at last year's state meet.
“That was extremely unfortunate and I wanted it really bad this year,” McEuen said. “I had to redeem myself, I had to get back in there.”
If that performance wasn’t enough, McEuen added another state title and another record swim in the 100 free.
Bolstered by his performance in the 50, McEuen dominated the field in the 100 and broke the 5A record with a 45.57. The previous record of 46.04 was also set by Brewer.
“The 100 surprised me; I didn’t know I was going to be quite that fast,” McEuen said.
McEuen also gave the crowd more to cheer about as he swam the anchor legs of Lebanon’s 200 and 400 freestyle relays, helping the Warriors place second and third, respectively.
His performance earned him the male swimmer of the meet award and helped the Warriors take home the fourth-place trophy with 33 points.
Hillsboro won with 64 points while Corvallis was seventh (18) and South Albany ninth (eight).
McEuen’s two record times overshadowed Corvallis’ Noah Vial, who returned to his high school team this season and won two individual titles.
Vial took home gold in the 200 free, finishing the finals in 1:42.80, nearly 2.5 seconds faster than his prelims time.
He then used a steady and consistent pace to overtake Springfield’s Chaz Stafford in the 500 free.
“I was really looking forward to state,” Vial said. “I know at districts I wasn’t tapered so I was expecting to drop a little bit of time but not as much as I dropped.”
Vial took the lead around the halfway point of the 500 free and cruised to the title in a time of 4:39.51, nearly 15 seconds faster than his prelims time.
“I wanted to hold back a little bit the first 150 to kind of see where the field was going and then once I felt a good pace I decided to pick it up a little bit,” Vial said.
South Albany’s Zack Gardner closed out his high school career with a second-place finish in the 100 backstroke, finishing with a 53.45.
Gardner was also fourth in the 200 IM, finishing in 2:02.54, while Lebanon’s Jonathan Yordy was sixth in 2:07.24.
Lebanon’s 200 free relay team of Drew Charley, Yordy, Owen Engler and McEuen placed second in 1:32.04 while Corvallis’ team of Aidan Smit, Nic Ashland, Shawn Hinz and Vial was fifth in 1:34.99.
The Warriors’ 400 free relay of Charley, Yordy, Engler and McEuen was third in 3:22.77.