Some of the area’s best swimmers will be at Osborn Aquatic Center on Friday and Saturday for the Mid-Willamette Conference championships.
Crescent Valley, Corvallis, Lebanon, South Albany, Central, Silverton and Dallas will compete with berths in next week’s OSAA 5A state championships up for grabs.
The preliminaries will get going at 12:30 p.m. Friday with the finals beginning at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The winner of each individual event and relay advances to the state meet at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. Others can advance based on times.
Here’s a quick look at the area schools in the event.
The Lebanon boys are likely to dominate two separate events.
The top three lanes in the boys 100-yard butterfly will be occupied by Warriors Drew Charley, Jonathan Yordy and Cameron McKee. Teammates Casey McEuen and Owen Engler will have the first two spots of the 100 free.
Coach Gus Arzner has been impressed with how quickly Chaley, a freshman, has developed as a swimmer.
“He may be the most talented freshman in the district,” Arzner said.
McEuen is a returning state champion in the 100 free, and has dominated in the event all season long. Yordy is slotted second in the 200 individual medley, and was district champion in two events last year.
On the girls side, senior Piper Engler will have a good chance at winning the 100 backstroke and 200 yard IM. She's seeded second in the backstroke and third in the 200.
Arzner is glad to have Engler to lead the girls team.
“She was district champion her sophomore year in the 100 breaststroke,” Arzner said. “Then she sat out a year. Now she’s back and leading the team.”
South Albany coach Robin Beechert said her team is loaded with underclassmen but she also has a good group of seniors to show the younger swimmers the way.
"We lost quite a few people last year and we have eight seniors this year, so we’re dealing with a lot of newer swimmer," Beechert said. “A lot of sophomores and freshman that I think are going to do really well.”
Seniors Zack Gardner, Jessica Robinson and Bodey Richmond hope to have good showings for the Rebels. Gardner is seeded first in both the boys 200 yard IM and the 100 backstroke while Richmond earned himself the fourth seed in both the 50 and 100 free. Robinson will have the best lane in the girls 100 backstroke and earned the third seed in the 50 freestyle.
The Rebels underclassmen will be well represented by sophomore Mickayla Timberlake and freshman Chiara Roskelle. Timberlake has the fourth seed in the 200 and 500 freestyle while Roskelley will swim in the 100 butterfly and join Jessica Robinson in the 50 free.
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Coach Rex Watkins pointed out that every year and every team is different and prefers not to make predictions on specific races. Overall, however, he is confident the Raiders will represent themselves well. The boys team is young and still learning but the girls team has a chance to do something special.
“The boys team is composed of incredible young gentlemen who have improved greatly,” Watkins said. “Our girls might dominate the meet if they're healthy.”
If the seedings are any indication, CV may indeed have a great day. There are 11 Raiders occupying one or two seeds in the varsity races at Osborn.
No matter how the Raiders fare in the pool, Watkins hopes to have a loud crowd cheering them on from the bleachers above the pool in Corvallis.
“It’s gonna be a great meet with lots of good races," Watkins said. "I hope people will come out watch, not just read about it in the paper.”
Some Spartans to watch are juniors Noah Vial and Aidan Smit and sophomore Ava Minu-Sepehr. Vial and Smit placed first and second in both the boys 200- and 500-yard freestyles, and will swim side by side in the events.
Minu-Sepehr could easily win both the girls 200 and 500 free, where she earned the third seed.
Senior team leaders Issac Garrison and Shawn Hinz will both have a chance to upset in their events. Garrison was on the CHS relay team that competed at state last season, and will compete in both the 50 and 100 free. Hinz earned the fourth seed in the 100 butterfly.
The Philomath High swim teams will compete in the special district 3 meet at the Albany Community Pool on Friday and Saturday.
The PHS boys have the Warriors' lone top seed, sophomore James Dye. He’s seeded first in the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.
Dye finished in the top five in a couple events at last year’s district meet.
Coach Marissa Eng is hopeful that Dye qualifies for the state championship next weekend.
“He’s grown a lot this year, and he’s trained really hard in the offseason. He’s had a lot of good races without a taper.” Eng said.
Senior Taran Pindell is seeded fifth in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. Junior Jensen Davis is seeded fifth in the 100 backstroke.
On the girls side, senior Diana Hardin is seeded fifth in the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle. Sophomore Reya Fairbanks is seeded sixth in the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly, and Sophomore Amity Coon is seeded sixth in the 100 breaststroke.