Celts get the sweep against Sprague

Despite his goggles falling from his eyes early in the race, Zander Rhoades was still able to win the 100-yard butterfly event. (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

In his eight years at the helm of the McNary swim program, Celtics head coach Casey Lewin couldn’t remember ever being more impressed with a team after a dual meet.

“Top to bottom, that was one of the best meets I’ve seen from any team that I have coached. Almost everyone posted a best time in at least one of their events,” Lewin said.

The McNary girls’ defeated Sprague 67-55, while the boys’ team won by a score of 85-70 on Thursday, Jan. 6.

“We are really starting to hit our stride,” Lewin said. “They weren’t worried about the results, they were more concerned about swimming to the best of their ability.” 

McNary senior Paris Boyd was able to put her versatility on display in this meet, winning the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 26.97, then turned around and won the 500-freestyle (5:53.12). 

“You give her a few more weeks, she is going to have some really fast swims,” Lewin said. 

The other multi-event winner for the McNary girls’ team was Molly Eisele. The sophomore won the 100-backstroke with a time of 1:32.17 and was victorious in the 100-butterfly (1:32.00).

Eisele was neck-and-neck with Sprague’s Maggie McKay for the first 50 yards of the 100-backstroke. But Eisele finished the second leg nearly five seconds faster than McKay, which was the key to her victory. 

“The first 50 (yards) I was trying to really put it out there. But I also really kicked it in the last 25,” Eisele said. 

Even though it was only her second time competing in the event, Eisele excelled in the 100-fly.

“I kind of got thrown into that. But Casey told me that I would be good at it,” she said. “I actually like that event and I think that I will improve at it.”

Both Boyd and Eisele also helped the Celtics win the 200-free relay, along with Keiran Montague and McKenzie Wiles. 

On the boys side, Lewin said he was most impressed with the 200-medley relay team of Caleb Skipper, Zander Rhoades, Zach Kilby and Tyshin Nguyen, who were the only foursome to swim a sub-two minute race (1:55.19). 

“If we are able to tweak things up a little bit, I could even see them getting down to a 1:52 or 1:53. That could be a top-three spot in the league and could allow that group to get to state,” Lewin said. 

Kilby also won two individual events in the 50-free (24.83) and the 100-free (56.42). 

Skipper dominated the 100-backstroke, winning by nearly 10 seconds (1:04.21), while Nguyen used a great second leg to win the 100-breast (1:18.91). 

“Tyshin was super stoked to get a best time in 100-breast. He has gotten a lot stronger,” Lewin said. 

In what was possibly the most entertaining race of the night, the 100-butterfly, Rhoades had his goggles fall from his eyes upon diving into the water. Despite having the eyewear across his face for nearly the entire race, Rhoades found a way to get to the line in time to finish first (1:03.91).

“I often lose my goggles. It is a recurring issue. After I jumped into the water, I just had a huge adrenaline rush. I didn’t want to do two things wrong. I couldn’t lose the race and have my goggles fall off,” Rhoades said. “As I was coming up on the last 25, I felt like my arms were purely going off of willpower. They were numb. But it was worth it because I got the win.”

McNary returns to the Kroc Center pool on Thursday, Jan. 13 to take on South Salem at 7 p.m.

Matt Rawlings: [email protected]