McNary’s Josh Holt comes up for air during the breaststroke at the North Salem meet. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Amidst the practices, dual meets and ramp up to district competition, it’s easy to for members of the McNary varsity swimming teams to forget that swimming is supposed to be fun.

Fortunately, that wasn’t the case when the boys and girls teams took to the pool in a meet with the North Salem Vikings. Many of the swimmers got to compete in races other than their specialties and both teams won their part of the meet. The boys won 117-53, the girls won 121-48.

“It felt good to have fun swimming again. There wasn’t as much pressure during that meet,” said Ryan Tesdal, who set a new personal record in the 100 backstroke, an event he won with a time of 1:04.39.

“Everybody swam pretty well we had a good number of personal records,” said Celt Dominic Meyer. “Everybody is progressing and working hard and getting better.”

Meyer won the 100 fly with a time of 1:01.26 and the 100 breast in 1:11.26.

Celt Kevin Groves won a trio of races: the 200 free in 2:10.65; the 50 free in 24.11; and the 100 free in 55.00.

“It was an even more impressive set because he had only 10 minutes rest between the the 200 and the 50,” said Kim Phillips, McNary head coach.

Freshman Seth Miller topped the podium in the 500 free with a time of 5:31.97. The Celtic boys and girls teams won all six of the the relay events. Meyer, forest Feltner, Mason Grine, and Tesdal won the 200 medley in a time of 1:51.42; Josh Holt, Tyler McNichols, Tyler Willems, and Meyer won the 200 free in 1:39.2; Alex Fox, Perry Groves, Garrett Hittner, Miller won the 400 free in 2:49.06; Morgan Crueger, Hannah Phipps, Missy Anderson, Jade Boyd won the 200 medley in 2:17.2; Laura Donaldson, Rachel Hittner, Jade Boyd and H. Hittner won the 200 free in 1:51.82; and Allie Biondi, Crueger, Taylor Norby, R. Hittner won the 400 free in 4:30.17.

Two weeks ago, Donaldson broke 26 seconds in the 50 free making her one of two girls on the team – the other is Hannah Hittner – to reach that mark.

“I know districts are going to be crazy to see who can get to 25,” Donaldson said. “It’s nice having a group of girls that push me to do better.”

Hannah Hittner won three individual events in the North Salem meet, she took first place in the 200 free with a time 2:13.49, in the 100 free with a time of 59.98, and in the 500 free with a time of 6:15.73.

Rounding out the girls’ victories were Melissa Anderson in the 100 fly with a time of 1:18.74; Christina Ford in the 100 back with a time of 1:19.49; and Stefani Johnson in the 100 breast with a time of 1:26.35.

Phillips also cited Monica Howard, Megan Paul, Annie Fox with excellent performances in the meet.

“Perry Groves was amazing in his 100 free and dropped five seconds, Missy Anderson had a personal record by four seconds in the 100 fly,” Phillips said.

As district competition nears, Phillips finds herself in the tough position of making final decisions on the relay team compositions, the depth of talent she has to pick from is only making the call harder, she said.

“It’s a very competitive field, I just have to make the decision and hope I make the right one,” Phillips said.