Davis McHugh swims the 500 freestyle in McNary’s last home meet two weeks ago.  (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Davis McHugh swims the 500 freestyle in McNary’s last home meet two weeks ago. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary High School swimming teams will have a fairly tough row to hoe when they head to the district meet Friday, Feb. 13, in McMinnville. It only proves what a difference a year can make.

“In last year’s league I would be certain we had a number of kids headed to the state meet, but with the additions of McMinnville, Forest Grove and West Albany, we have a lot more swimmers on the bubble,” said Casey Lewin, McNary head coach.

There is one advantage theatMcNary will have, the Celts had their last meet in McMinnville and got the chance to swim in the same pool where district titles will be up for grabs.

“The walls of the pool were a bit different and it was hard to adjust in the meet, but now we know what that will be like,” said sophomore Abby McCoy.

Lewin was thankful that the swimmers will have fewer “excuses” should they perform less than they expect of themselves. Both teams lost to the Grizzlies in the meet Tuesday, Feb. 10, but McMinnville brought a stacked roster of more than 70 student-athletes to the contest.

Outside the pool was also a different experience, said senior Anjelica Glassey.

“It’s a lot smaller and it’s going to feel smaller with all the teams crammed into it,” she said.

Tanner Hughes, Kiana Briones, Sara Eckert and Marissa Kuch will be a few of the names to look for on the leaderboard, Lewin said.

“Our relays are also starting to look a lot better because everyone is getting healthy,” Lewin said.

Glassey and McCoy expected big races from the distance swimmers.

“The ones in the 200 and 500 freestyle have had a lot of personal records recently. It seems like almost every week,” Glassey said.

While the girls have fared a bit better in regular meets this season, Hughes said the boys are focusing on performing well regardless of the outcome.

“We want to go out there and swim the best we can. Go out with confidence in each race and show them what McNary is all about,” said Hughes, a senior.