6A Swim Central: A look back at district, a look ahead to state
The best swimmers in Class 6A competition are ready to make a splash.
The Class 6A state meet kicks off with preliminary heats at 1:45 p.m. Friday, then continues with championship finals at 1 p.m. Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College Aquatic Center.
So what's likely to happen at state, and how did all these great swimmers get there?
Here's how to find out — check out the complete collection of Class 6A district swimming stories written and photographed by Pamplin Media Group's many sports editors and reporters.
For Tigard High School sophomore Ben Miller, it was a good district meet.
For the Tigard girls swim team, it was a good district meet.
Now, the Tigers are looking for even more good things this week.
The Tigard girls finished in third place in the team standings at the district meet with 228 points. The Tigard boys finished in eighth place with 151 points.
Jared Mendez had a strategy.
Step by step, he knew just what he was going to do.
Did that strategy pay off? Oh yes — in championship proportions.
Mendez, a Tualatin High School junior, swam to victory in the 500-yard freestyle event to provide the biggest, of many, highlights for the Tualatin boys and girls swim teams at the Three Rivers League district championships, held Friday and Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College.
The Tualatin boys finished in third place in the team standings with 300 points. That put the Wolves just eight points behind team champion Lakeridge, and seven points behind second-place Lake Oswego.
The Tualatin girls finished in fourth place at the district meet with a score of 208.
The Sherwood High School swim teams may not have qualified any competitors for the upcoming Class 6A state championships, but the Bowmen squads still had some strong performances at the Three Rivers League district championships, held Friday and Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College.
The Sherwood boys finished in seventh place in the team standings at the district meet with a score of 194 points.
The Sherwood girls finished in eighth place in the team standings at the district meet with 156 points.
The 2016-17 high school swimming season may be coming to an end, but don't tell that to Forest Grove head swimming coach Tabor Waterstreet.
"My season isn't done yet," he said. "I'll answer that after Saturday."
The Viking boys finished third overall at last weekend's district championships in McMinnville, while the girls placed fifth.
McMinnville won the boys division with 419 points, South Salem finished second with 366 points and the Vikings garnered 257 points for their third place result.
On the girls side, West Salem prevailed with 368 points, West Albany was second with 340, South Salem and McMinnville were third and fourth with 326.5 and 284, and the Vikings finished with 180 points for a fifth place result.
The Jesuit boys swimming team owns "championship season."
In what's become a prelude to multiple Class 6A state titles the last three seasons, the Crusaders put their fingerprints all over the Metro League District Championship on Saturday, sailing to their third straight district title with 495 points at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center.
There's no way.
As Alayna Connor and Kate Westlake caught wind of the season-tilting speculation ripping around the Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center, the Sunset girls swimmers scrambled over to their smart phones, pulled up the latest Metro League District Championship scores and confirmed the jaw-dropping news.
The Apollos were district champions by way of three relay wins, two solo triumphs from Connor, five second place finishes and 'A' finalists in nearly every event for 425 team points. But, it was the astonishing disclosure in the moments after the meet that shook Sunset's captains more than anything.
Jesuit — Sunset's archrival and top opponent at the district meet — was disqualified from both the 200 free and 400 free relays for leaving the starting blocks too early while jumping into the pool.
The Clackamas boys swim team ran away with the Mount Hood Conference district title Saturday, beating its closest challenger by 90 points.
The Clackamas girls swim team won the Mount Hood Conference district crown before even touching the water for Saturday's finals.
The Cavaliers used a strong showing in Friday's qualifying races to overwhelm the competition when it came time to head to the starting blocks for the next day's championship races. Clackamas filled 22 spots over the eight individual finals — nearly double the total of any other team at the meet.
The Lakeridge girls swim team was decidedly tough during the Three Rivers League regular season.
The Pacers went unbeaten in eight meets to claim the Three Rivers League championship in style.
But that was nothing compared to what Lakeridge did at district.
Facing the entirety of the TRL's best on Friday and Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College Aquatic Center, the Pacers swam to victory in six of the meet's 11 events, amassed 374 points and rolled to victory by 63 points over second-place rival Lake Oswego's 311.
Race by race, swim by swim and blow by blow, the Lakeridge and Lake Oswego boys swim teams went at each other yet again at last week's Three Rivers League district swim championship.
Just a week after the Pacers and Lakers had battled to an 85-85 tie in their final regular-season dual meet — a result that split the TRL title between the two teams at 6-0-1 — they were back at it during the district meet, held Friday and Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College Aquatic Center.
In the end, it was Lakeridge that left victorious — but only by the slimmest of margins.
The Pacers won just two of the district meet's 11 events — the Lakers won four — but used their depth and overall strength to pile up 308 points while Lake Oswego finished second with 307. The rest of the team scoring included Tualatin at 300, Canby at 245, Newberg at 229, West Linn at 203, Sherwood at 194 and Tigard at 151.
After a lack of depth contributed to a frustrating dual meet season, the Newberg swim team went all in on its relays Friday and Saturday at the Three Rivers League district meet in an attempt to prove its best are on par with the rest of the conference.
The strategy paid off for coach George Sampson and the Tigers, who qualified five relays and four individuals for this weekend's 6A state championships.
That translated to a fifth place finish for the boys, who also placed fifth during the dual meet season with a 3-4 record, but lost two meets by slim margins when a key swimmer or two were unable to compete.
Newberg scored 229 points to finish 16 behind fourth-place Canby, while Lakeridge edged Lake Oswego 308-307 to win the title.
The Canby swim team competed in the Three Rivers League District Meet Saturday, Feb. 11 at Mount Hood Community College.
Boys swimmer Michael Haring placed first in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke while Canby girls swimmer Kaitlyn Hester won the 100-yard freestyle and also qualified for state and finished third in the 50-yard freestyle and teammate Mairen Chard finished fourth and qualified for state in the 100-yard backstroke.