The Mid-Willamette Conference’s best swimmers descend on Osborn Aquatic Center this weekend for the district swim meet.
Corvallis took last season’s boys title and Crescent Valley won the girls. This year, there is not a lot of certainty as to who will come away with the district title.
Gone is Corvallis’ Trevor Gourley, who anchored two first place relay teams and battled Lebanon’s Casey McEuen in the 50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 200 free relay and the 400 free relay.
In all four races, the senior Gourley topped the freshman McEuen as Corvallis dominated the district meet. The Spartans 465 points won the tournament by 136 points over second place Lebanon.
Corvallis is unlikely to return to the same form it exhibited a year ago, although coach Judy Storie’s goals are based more on her team’s overall performance rather than winning or losing.
“Hopefully we’ll get state qualifiers. We have several relays that if they do what they’re supposed to do, they could get in. I just look for them to improve and do the best they can,” Storie said.
According to Storie, her team needs to drop some times but she feels as though her freestyle relays have the best opportunity to swim at state.
McEuen is back this year and the Warriors look primed to take the Spartans crown from last season. According to head coach Gus Arzner, Lebanon has won every boys dual in league competition this year and that gives him confidence.
“Usually that’s a good sign as you head into districts. We have (McEuen) and Darrin (Breshears) and they are really two forces that the other teams are going to have to contend with,” Arzner said.
McEuen isn’t the only performer for the Warriors as he will be backed up by the likes of Breshears, Scott Charley and Jonathan Yordy among others.
Breshears is the lone senior for Lebanon and figures to factor into the scoring for the Warriors.
“He swam at a very high level for us last year at districts. We’re depending on him to have an outstanding meet,” Arzner said.
Going by seed times, Lebanon holds a slight advantage over South Albany for the pre-meet favorite to bring home the boys title.
The meet could come down to finishes in the 200 free, the 100 butterfly and the 200 freestyle relay.
Gardner and Breshears will go head to head in the 200 free. Gardner comes in as the top seed at 1:55.55, but Breshears is right behind him at 1:55.79. Lebanon holds a .67 second advantage in the 200 freestyle relay with a seed time of 1:37.13. Lastly, in the 100 butterfly, Yordy and South’s Ian Walker had near identical seed times with Yordy’s 1:00.63 edging out Walker by .02.
With the teams set to clash, every scoring finish is going to factor into the boys district championship.
Crescent Valley is a strong favorite to successfully defend its district championship from a year ago. The Raiders come into the meet with the fastest seed in nine of 11 races.
CV not only holds the top seeds in the majority of events but the Raiders hold two of the top three spots in five events: 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke,100 freestyle, 500 freestyle and the 200 individual medley.
Despite the strength of his girls team, coach Rex Watkins doesn’t want to project how his team will perform at districts.
The most competitive race of the meet may be the 100 free. CV’s Reina Watkins at the top seed to Corvallis’ Mona Wong at fifth are separated by only 2.04 seconds. The Raiders have three swimmers in that top five while the Spartans have two.
One of the five swimmers in that tight competition is Corvallis’ Kayla Witzke. Witzke figures to be a big part of the Spartans’ effort at the meet. Witzke is seeded in the top for in four events.
The Raiders may look dominant but South Albany holds the other two best seed times and could earn some state berths in the pool.
South Albany’s Molly Beamer comes into the meet as the fastest sprinter in the 50 free at 25.59. Hot on her trail is Rylie Ball from CV who seeded in at 26.46.
The meet starts Friday at 12:30 p.m. with preliminary meets and the finals will be Saturday at 1:30 p.m.