By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The McNary High School swimmers are headed to the district competition Feb. 12-13 in McMinnville.
While earning the Greater Valley Conference crown might be a stretch for both the girls and boys, Casey Lewin, McNary head coach, said some relay teams and individual racers are poised to do big things for their teams.
“The past couple of weeks we’ve been a bit worn down but, between tapering and some rest, I like the place we’re in headed into the district meet,” Lewin said.
For the girls, Lewin singled out sophomore star Marissa Kuch, who won individual and relay district titles as a freshman, Sarah Eckert, Haley Debban and Emily Alger.
“Emily has been swimming fast lately and Haley has really turned it up in the past few weeks,” Lewin said. “Haley has had a great year in the 50 free and that was not something I saw coming.”
McNary senior Kiana Briones had her eye on two of the Lady Celt relay teams.
“Our 200 medley and the 200 free relays are pretty strong this year, but we have amazing up-and-coming swimmers that are freshmen and sophomores,” said Briones.
Briones is hoping for good things for herself in the 200 free and 100 breaststroke.
“I’d like to come in around 1:15 in the 100 breast. I’m not sure exactly where it would put me, but based on the dual meet outcomes I think it could put me in a good spot,” Briones said.
In boys races, Lewin thought both Jake Wyer, Parker Dean, Evan Alger and exchange student Georgio Corrieri had a shot at progressing to the state races.
“Evan and Parker are just strong competitors, Jake has been on a tear recently and Georgio has really gotten it going in the past few meets,” Lewin said. “They’ll do all right for themselves.”
Dean has his sights set on the 200 free and 100 breaststroke.
“I’d like to get in the top eight in the 200 free and I got a new personal record recently, so I think I have a shot,” Dean said. “I also would like to make it in the top 15 of the 100 breast, it’s eluded me since I was a freshman.”
The team was working on pacing and strong starts in the waning days of the season, Dean said.
The boys 200 free relay might also have a shot at placing in the meet.
“We’ve lost a couple of tenths with some seniors who graduated last year, but we could do well if things go our way,” Lewin said.
In the run-up to the district meet, the Celts faced their final opponents in the GVC, McMinnville High School, Tuesday, Feb. 2.
Both the boys and girls lost the meet, but the team swam well despite the outcome, said Lewin.
The girls lost their side of the meet 100.5-69.5. Kuch was the only race winner for McNary. She posted the best times in the 50 and 100 free – 24.81 and 54.20, respectively.
The boys lost 128-40 to the Grizzlies.