ALBANY — Experience counts for a lot.
Every once in a while, a natural athlete with raw talent dives into the pool and starts winning races and scoring points for the team. But for most, it’s a learning process with peaks and valleys as the athletes work to get better.
Tristan Pindell, one of four seniors on the Philomath High boys roster, said he’s learned to go hard right from the beginning of the season.
“It’s really easy to get in the mindset like, ‘oh, I’ll start working hard once we get closer to districts,’” Pindell said Saturday morning after an 11-school meet at South Albany. "If you start working hard the first week of practice, if you work hard in practice and swim every race like it’s your last race you’ll ever be swimming, you’ll do a lot better and you improve a lot more than if you save it for future races.”
Pindell’s one of those swimmers who’s been competing since his freshman season. He’s been through the drill.
“I think that’s really big and I started doing that a lot more last year, which really helped me,” Pindell said about coming out hard every time. “I think that’s a big part of being successful.”
Another senior, Brandon Enghauser, said remaining calm before his events factors into performance.
“I think just relaxing is really important,” Enghauser said. “You can’t swim super fast if you’re tensed up and nervous. I just take deep breaths and get everything out — but it is hard sometimes.”
Maggie Ross, a PHS junior who loves to sprint in the pool (and on the track), said she’s learned one important part of racing.
“I’ve learned not to underestimate your kick with your legs,” she laughed. “I don’t usually kick and that makes it a lot harder.”
Philomath’s swimmers are getting close to the stretch run for the season with the only remaining meets before districts coming Friday at North Bend and the following Monday at home against Salem Academy. The district meet arrives Feb. 8-9 and will also be staged at South Albany’s pool.
That begs the question — what do the swimmers think about the venue?
“It makes more of a difference than you might think,” Enghauser said about pools. “Like at the Madras pool — it’s at a really high altitude and the T’s on the bottom of the pool, they feel further away than in other pools. So I was struggling in that pool a lot — just trying to get my foot turns at the right times, maybe flipping too early.”
Pindell said the South Albany pool isn’t his favorite, but it’s not bad considering the options for the district meet.
“It’s really not that bad and I think over the four years, I’ve gotten used to it and I just deal with it,” Pindell said. “The bulkhead is really weird and that kinda throws some people off but if you warm up correctly, usually you can be pretty successful.”
The bulkhead at South Albany’s pool has been brought up by other swimmers in past years. Ross said the pool has been a challenge for her.
“A lot of people really like this pool because they feel faster in it,” she said. “Personally, I feel slower in it because it’s kinda like swimming through butter for me. Also, the bulkhead, that makes a huge difference because when you flip, it’s not as stable as a wall.”
Getting back to the experience factor, Enghauser, Pindell and Ross have all had to master certain parts of their favorite swims to come in with competitive times.
“For me, it’s been my kick,” said Enghauser, a particular part of a swim that seems to challenge many of them. “I don’t have a very strong kick and I’ve been getting yelled at for a long time for that. I think I’m starting to get my kick down a bit more but it’s still not perfect.”
Enghauser hopes to get his 50-yard freestyle time down into the 24-second range before the season ends. In the 500 endurance race, he’d like to break the 6-minute barrier. He’s close with his fastest time coming in at 6:06.
Pindell, who said he’d like to compete individually in the 100 breaststroke and 50 freestyle at districts, said breathing has been important to learn. But there’s also the challenge of finishing strong in a short sprint like the 50 free.
“You kinda die on the last maybe 10 yards or so,” Pindell said. “That’s really when your body starts to stop wanting to work and so pushing through that mental barrier right there and finishing strong is probably the hardest thing I face in a race.”
Pindell’s shooting for a time below 23 seconds in the 50 free.
“If I can go like a high 22, that would rock my world,” Pindell said. “I don’t know how likely that is, but that’s what I’m aiming for right now.”
Ross likes the 100 freestyle best because she has more time to think about strategy as opposed to the 50. Besides her kick, Ross mentioned how she needs to remember to catch the water.
“I haven’t been — it’s called catching the water, when you really grab onto it and pull and finish down by pushing the water back behind you,” she said. “I kinda pull it halfway and then drop it and then keep going. So I’ve really had to work on getting that water all the way down.”
Ross would like to get her 50 free time down to 25 seconds. At Saturday’s sprint meet, she came in with a split of 25.8.
Eleven schools participated in the South Albany meet. Team scoring was not calculated.
The Warriors took first in the meet’s first event — the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:55.33 — and it turned out to be the only win of the morning. Sophomore Eli McLennan led off with Pindell swimming second, Dye going third and Enghauser finishing as the anchor.
Ross had the top individual finish with second in the 50 butterfly (30.44).
Fourth-place finishes were turned in by Dye in the 100 individual medley (1:06.44) and 50 backstroke (32.11), and senior Abby Rutledge in the 50 backstroke (36.30). Pindell placed fifth in the 50 butterfly (28.99). Sixth-place showings were turned in by McLennan in the 100 freestyle (1:00.36), junior Brennan Provance in the 50 backstroke (33.25), sophomore Vivian Pastor-Infantes in the 50 backstroke (38.55) and freshman Ophelia Katsikis in the 50 breaststroke (41.14).
In the 200 freestyle relays, Philomath’s teams placed fifth for the girls and sixth for the boys.
Philomath hosted a three-school meet Friday at Clemens Community Pool. PHS coach Marissa Eng called the performance an “epic meet” for her squad with several fast times.
“The kids really came together and cheered for one another, the energy was amazing and stepped up their game,” Eng said. “Overall, it was fantastic to see the cohesiveness of the team and seeing the swimmers really get the idea of racing.”
Philomath’s girls took first place over Newport and Sisters. The boys were second behind the strong Newport squad but well ahead of Sisters.
The girls had several top-three finishes at the home meet. Junior Hannah Hernandez won the 100 backstroke (1:19.01) and was second in the 200 freestyle (2:33.53). Ross was second in the 50 free (27.25) and third in the 100 free (1:03.51). Sophomore Audrey Davis placed second in the 500 free (6:57.55) and third in the 200 free (2:36.43).
Junior Ellie Leslie was second in the 100 butterfly (1:45.76) and senior Kena Bacho tied for second in the 100 backstroke (1:22.93). Senior Amity Coon placed third in the 200 individual medley (2:44.03) and freshman Kaeleigh Houchin was third in the 100 breaststroke (1:29.59).
Philomath also won two relays with the 200 medley (Abby Rutledge, Coon, Ross and Hernandez) in 2:11.64 and the 200 freestyle (Davis, Hernandez, Coon and Ross) in 1:56.89.
For the boys, Dye won the 100 free (52.27) and the 500 free (5:25.63). McLennan had runner-up finishes in both the 100 butterfly (1:09.60) and the 100 backstroke (1:06.47). Enghauser was third in the 100 backstroke (1:08.46) and Pindell finished third in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.14).
“Eli McLennan had amazing swims in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke,” Eng said. “Maggie Ross had an outstanding night and broke down some of her best times.”
Friday at Philomath
Team scoring: Newport (NEW) 196.5, Philomath (PHS) 74.5, Sisters (SIS) 25
Winners & PHS Results
200 medley relay: 1, Newport (Caden Shanks, Lucas Cosenza-Ellingson, Kai Daniels, Nick Topar), 1:48.14; 2, Philomath, 1:53.34; 6, Philomath B, 2:17.71.
200 freestyle: 1, Tristan Scarborough, NEW, 2:03.40; 4, Brandon Enghauser, PHS, 2:13.50; 9, Cameron Latz, PHS, 2:51.43.
200 individual medley: 1, Vinny Onestar, NEW, 2:23.01; 4, Biwa Tomono-Duval, PHS, 3:23.71.
50 freestyle: 1, Caden Shanks, NEW, 23.86; T-4, Tristan Pindell, PHS, 24.50; 8, Jeremy Schaffer, PHS, 26.43; T-18, Judah Bacho, PHS, 53.22.
100 butterfly: 1, Luke Bachart, NEW, 1:03.53; 2, Eli McLennan, PHS, 1:09.60.
100 freestyle: 1, James Dye, PHS, 52.27; 9, Cameron Latz, PHS, 1:15.17.
500 freestyle: 1, James Dye, PHS, 5:25.63.
200 freestyle relay: 1, Newport (Nick Topar, Kai Daniels, Luke Bachart, Caden Shanks), 1:37.94.
100 backstroke: 1, Caden Shanks, NEW, 58.33; 2, Eli McLennan, PHS, 1:06.47; 3, Brandon Enghauser, PHS, 1:08.46; 5, Jeremy Schaffer, PHS, 1:14.76; 9, Brennan Provance, PHS, 1:17.27.
100 breaststroke: 1, Lucas Ellingson-Cosenza, NEW, 1:07.69; 3, Tristan Pindell, PHS, 1:10.14; 7, Caleb Matthews, PHS, 1:23.33; 9, Biwa Tomono-Duval, PHS, 1:26.24; 12, Judah Bacho, PHS, 1:35.04.
400 freestyle relay: 1, Newport (Kai Daniels, Nick Topar, Luke Bachart, Lucas Ellingson-Cosenza), 3:37.03; 3, Philomath, 4:12.44.
Team scoring: Philomath (PHS) 118, Newport (NEW) 86.5 Sisters (SIS) 78.5
Winners & PHS Results
200 medley relay: 1, Philomath (Abby Rutledge, Amity Coon, Maggie Ross, Hannah Hernandez), 2:11.64; 3, Philomath B, 2:31.98.
200 freestyle: 1, Chyanna Blackburn, NEW, 2:18.42; 2, Hannah Hernandez, PHS, 2:33.53; 3, Audrey Davis, PHS, 2:36.43.
200 individual medley: 1, Lydia Bartlett, SIS, 2:21.93; 3, Amity Coon, PHS, 2:44.03; 4, Kena Bacho, PHS, 2:55.82; 6, Abby Rutledge, PHS, 3:22.46; 7, Kaeleigh Houchin, PHS, 3:25.31.
50 freestyle: 1, Lauren Bob-Shisler, NEW, 25.49; 2, Maggie Ross, PHS, 27.25; 5, Jenna Schoepflin, PHS, 36.10; 6, Hailey Matthews, PHS, 36.22.
100 butterfly: 1, Sisilia Husing, NEW, 1:36.77; 2, Ellie Leslie, PHS, 1:45.76.
100 freestyle: 1, Lauren Bobo-Shisler, NEW, 55.59; 3, Maggie Ross, PHS, 1:03.51; 5, Amity Coon, PHS, 1:08.11; 8, Ophelia Katsikis, PHS, 1:19.47; 9, Jenna Schoepflin, PHS, 1:25.09.
500 freestyle: 1, Lydia Bartlett, SIS, 5:29.97; 2, Audrey Davis, PHS, 6:57.55; 5, Abby Rutledge, PHS, 7:52.95.
200 freestyle relay: 1, Philomath (Audrey Davis, Hannah Hernandez, Amity Coon, Maggie Ross), 1:56.89; 4, Philomath B, 2:21.30.
100 backstroke: 1, Hannah Hernandez, PHS, 1:19.01; T-2, Kena Bacho, PHS, 1:22.93; 4, Opehlia Katsikis, PHS, 1:25.27; T-5, Ellie Leslie, PHS, 1:27.84.
100 breaststroke: 1, Chyanna Blackburn, NEW, 1:21.76; 3, Kaeleigh Houchin, PHS, 1:29.59; 4, Hailey Matthews, PHS, 1:44.56.
400 freestyle relay: 1, Sisters (Meredith Mandal, Laura Clem, Maddie Busick, Lydia Bartlett), 4:20.44; 2, Philomath, 5:00.16.
District 3 Sprint Meet
Saturday at Albany
Schools competing (team scores not calculated): Blanchet Catholic (BC), Cascade (CAS), Junction City (JC), Kennedy (KEN), Marist Catholic (MC), North Marion (NM), Philomath (PHS), Salem Academy (SA), Sisters (SIS), Stayton (STY), Sweet Home (SH).
Winners & PHS Results
200 medley relay: 1, Philomath (Eli McLennan, Tristan Pindell, James Dye, Brandon Enghauser), 1:55.33.
200 freestyle: 1, Jacob Miller, KEN, 1:59.09; 19, Judah Bacho, PHS, 2:52.93
100 individual medley: 1, Caleb Warde, SA, 1:00.23; 4, James Dye, PHS, 1:06.44; 8, Brandon Enghauser, PHS, 1:09.72.
50 freestyle: 1, Chris Allender, MC, 23.26; 15, Cameron Latz, PHS, 31.48.
50 butterfly: 1, Austyn Shelton, SA, 26.42; 5, Tristan Pindell, PHS, 28.99.
100 freestyle: 1, Chris Allender, MC, 52.94; 6, Eli McLennan, PHS, 1:00.36;
500 freestyle: 1, Jacob Miller, KEN, 5:25.57.
50 backstroke: 1, Elijah Leutwyler, SA, 28.99; 4, James Dye, PHS, 32.11; 6, Brennan Provance, PHS, 33.25; 8, Caleb Matthews, PHS, 36.07.
50 breaststroke: 1, Reece Alexander, JC, 31.89; 8, Brandon Enghauser, PHS, 36.70; 14, Cameron Latz, PHS, 42.42.
200 freestyle relay: 1, North Marion, 1:42.50; 6, Philomath, 1:54.14.
Winners & PHS Results
200 medley relay: 1, Sweet Home, 2:06.21; 11, Philomath B, 2:35.77.
200 freestyle: 1, Lydia Bartlett, SIS, 2:02.25; 10, Audrey Davis, PHS, 2:36.86; 14, Kaeleigh Houchin, PHS, 2:52.52; 17, Abby Rutledge, PHS, 2:58.55.
100 individual medley: 1, Brylee Syverson, CAS, 1:06.18; 11, Kena Bacho, PHS, 1:21.52;
50 freestyle: 1, Lauren Kennedy, BC, 27.11.
50 butterfly: 1, Trinity Pierce, SA, 29.84; 2, Maggie Ross, PHS, 30.44; 7, Kena Bacho, PHS, 34.48; 14, Ellie Leslie, PHS, 45.14.
100 freestyle: 1, Meredith Mandal, SIS, 1:01.55; 12, Audrey Davis, PHS, 1:11.91; 14, Kaeleigh Houchin, PHS, 1:15.01; 19, Ophelia Katsikis, PHS, 1:16.97.
500 freestyle: 1, Kyle Mannix, Stayton, 5:53.04; 7, Hannah Hernandez, PHS, 6:55.68; 9, Amity Coon, PHS, 7:07.89.
50 backstroke: 1, Chloe Tyler, SH, 29.61; 4, Abby Rutledge, PHS, 36.30; 6, Vivian Pastor-Infantes, PHS, 38.55.
50 breaststroke: 1, Eulena Banzer, SA, 36.56; 6, Ophelia Katsikis, PHS, 41.14; 17, Hailey Matthews, PHS, 50.82.
200 freestyle relay: 1, Stayton, 1:54.68; 5, Philomath, 1:57.57; 10, Philomath B, 2:17.60.