Celt Marissa Kuch finished in the top 10 in two races at the state meet Feb. 19 and 20. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Celt Marissa Kuch finished in the top 10 in two races at the state meet Feb. 19 and 20. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

After setting two Greater Valley Conference records two weeks ago, McNary High School’s Marissa Kuch claimed top 10 finishes at the state meet Feb. 19 and 20.

“Friday wasn’t the best day of racing for me, but I improved from sixth to fifth in the 100 free,” said Kuch, a sophomore.

Kuch swam the 100 free in 24.96 seconds and finished eighth in the 200 free with a time of 26.15. Kuch actually had a better time in the 200 free than several of the higher-placing finishers, but she was relegated to the B Final after her tough day on Friday.

“The best part was swimming with a bunch of amazing girls in the A Finals of the 100 free. I know a lot of them from club swimming,” Kuch said.

Kuch swims competitively year-round and started at age 6.

“When I was little, my grandparents in California had a pool and I always wanted to get in it and never get out,” she said.

At the beginning of her second season with McNary, she had two goals: claim a school record and repeat as a district champ.

“The school records are really hard to get, but I got the 500 free record and then the district meet went really well,” Kuch said.

Kuch won the district title in the 200 freestyle in 1:53.84 and the 100 freestyle district title with a time of 52.11. Both were GVC records and she was named Female Swimmer of the Year.

“Honestly, I was just having a good day at districts. After I touched the wall in the 200 I had to look at the board twice. That was super exciting,” Kuch said. “After I touched the wall in the 100 free, the timer was like, ‘You did it.’ I still don’t think I realized what I’d done until I got on the podium and they announced it.”

Kuch will swim with her club team in Arizona next week to compete on an even larger stage. She’s chasing the cut times for the junior national swimming competitions.

“My ultimate goal is to get a Division I scholarship,” Kuch said.