For Crescent Valley High seniors Chloe Bowman, Lindsey Soule and Reina Watkins, Saturday was the perfect way to cap an impressive four-year career at the Mid-Willamette Conference district swim meet.
And they have a sophomore to thank for the icing on the cake.
Paula Lomonaco anchored the final leg of the girls 400-yard freestyle relay, touching the wall just in time for the Raiders to set a district record at Osborn Aquatic Center.
Crescent Valley wrapped up a dominating performance by finishing the 400 free relay in 3 minutes, 36.64 seconds to break the previous mark of 3:38.54, set by CV in 2008.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Bowman, who at first didn't think the Raiders would set the mark. Then she saw they were close.
"There were 18 seconds left and I knew Paula was going to make it back because that’s what Paula does, she makes it back. It was really awesome,” Bowman said.
The Raiders easily won their fourth straight girls title, finishing with 526.5 points, well ahead of the competition. Silverton was second with 388.5, while Corvallis (332) was third, Lebanon (250) fourth and South Albany (172) fifth.
“Senior year has been so fun, especially that last relay with us breaking that record by two seconds, it was a really awesome last districts,” said Soule, who won two individual titles and was part of two winning relays.
“The team really came together for this one so it was cool.”
The individual and relay winners automatically advance to next weekend’s 5A state meet at Mt. Hood Community College. Others may advance on time.
The Raiders won all but one event in cruising to their fourth straight title. In addition to Soule, Lomonaco won two individual titles and Watkins set a district meet record in the 200 IM.
Lomonaco took home first in the 50 free (24.94 seconds) and the 100 free (54.28). The sophomore edged Watkins for the win in the 100; Watkins finished in 56.16 while teammate M’Kenzie Drill (57.96) was third.
Soule cruised to the win in the 500 free (5:06.82) while Bowman was second in 5:21.41. Soule also won the 100 backstroke (59.43).
Bowman won the 200 free in 2:03 but the Raiders also had Jordan Drill (2:05.6) and Nova Evans (2:08.3) finish in the top three of the event.
Watkins dominated the 100 butterfly, setting a new district record with a time of 58.38. When the time flashed on the scoreboard, Watkins’ father and coach, Rex, let out a loud yell and raised his arms in celebration.
She broke the record of 58.44 set by South Albany’s Molly Beamer in 2016.
Sarah Cordier won the 200 IM in 2:13.95 and tied for second in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.56).
The Raiders’ team of Soule, Watkins, Sarah Cordier and Lauren Cordier won the 200 medley relay (1:53.33) and Sarah Cordier, Drill, Bowman and Lomonaco won the 200 free relay in 1:43.24.
The only event the Raiders didn’t win was the 100 breast, which went to Corvallis’ Anna Edwards. The freshman finished in 1:06.90.
But in the end, it was a day of celebrating for the Raiders.
Bowman said it was hard to believe how quickly the time has gone since she moved to Corvallis for her freshman season.
“Coming here was a completely different atmosphere, and it was better atmosphere and a competitive atmosphere,” Bowman said. “We’re not just competitive but we lift each other up and we encourage each other to go faster.
“We couldn’t have done that unless we were supporting each and we were a cohesive team.”