McNary senior Alyssa Garvey made it to the finals in the 50-yard freestyle and placed eighth at the MVC District Meet. The McNary girls finished sixth overall (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

After weather derailed the format last year, the Mountain Valley Conference hosted their first true district meet Feb. 13-14 at the Kroc Center in Salem.

The McNary boys took fifth place with 220 points while the Celtic girls placed sixth with 138 points. 

While they had a tough time hanging with the likes of Bend and Summit on the scoreboard, McNary head coach Casey Lewin was glad to see his team give their best performances of the season.

“We had best times across the board on Friday and we backed up our swims on Saturday. The kids really focused and worked hard the few weeks leading to districts. It was nice to see their efforts rewarded,” Lewin said. 

The big highlight of the meet for the Celtics was that Bella Beard became the first McNary girl to qualify for the state meet since Marissa Kuch in 2016. Beard finished third in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of (1:09.52).

Beard will race in the preliminary heat at Mount Hood Community College on Friday, Feb. 21. If she finishes in the top eight, she will compete in the finals the following day.

It’s unlikely that Beard will compete for a state title, but Lewin believes that the McNary junior could break the school record in the 100-breast at the state meet, which is 1:08.80. 

“It will be great for her to get another opportunity to break the school record. With a good, clean race, she can get down to the 1:08s,” Lewin said. 

Despite dealing with an injury, Paris Boyd also had a fantastic day for the McNary girls.

Boyd made it to the podium in two individual events, placing sixth in the 50-freestyle (25.84) and fifth in the 100-free (57.27). She also helped the 200-free relay team finish fifth and the 200-medley team place fourth.

“Paris had big swims for us, even though she was dealing with an injury,” Lewin said. “She didn’t let it bother her and still performed well both in her individual races and her relays.”

On the boys side, it was McNary freshman Zachary Kilby that had a big day in the pool. 

Kilby was the Celtics top placer on the day for any race with his second place finish in the 50-free (23.50). Kilby also placed third in the 100-free (53.41) and swam the anchor for the 200-free relay team that placed fifth and the 400-free relay squad that finished fourth. 

“Zach had a breakout weekend and will be one to watch the next three years. He is very talented and will only improve. He puts in the effort and has the desire to get better,” Lewin said. “We’re already looking forward to what next season has in store.”

In his final district meet, McNary senior Kyle Hooper made it to the podium twice, placing fifth in the 100-backstroke and the 500-free.

Zander Rhoades also had a good showing in the 500-free for the Celtics, finishing eighth with a time of 5:54.76.

Brennan Whalen took seventh in the breaststroke (1:11.20) while his twin brother, Ethan, placed eighth (1:12.58).

“I thought the season was a success. Our numbers were still up, kids improved, had fun and hopefully will continue to swim. The team took a lot of pride in themselves and I thought they represented McNary very well. Even though our seniors will be missed for their leadership and talents in the pool, we have a strong group coming up to fill the ranks,” Lewin said.