State titles, school records, conference standings and unforgettable memories were all at stake for the swimmers in their district swim meet.
Prior to the meet, the boys were jazzed about possible winning.
“Our head coach Sean Taylor thinks we will win the meet. We have a lot of depth and I feel great right now, like a champion,” senior captain Dalton Boyles said.
Prior to the meet starting, the announcer did a roll call for each team present and the athletes hollered out showing pride for their school. Once the atmosphere was amped, each team did a chant before each race. Each of the swimmers also had a special announcement read about them, including a short list of their accomplishments.
Numerous big races happened for the Gresham team. The men’s 200 Medley relay got second with a time of 1:45.99. The women’s 200 Individual Medley saw senior Haley Shaeffer earn second with a time of 2:22.97, where she also took two seconds off of her previous PR. Senior Ryan Jacobs got third in the men’s 200 Individual Medley with a 2:10.48, and sophomore Duncan Parsons clinched first in the men’s 500 Freestyle with 5:17.13. Parsons took an impressive six seconds off his previous best time.
Senior Shelby Strand got fourth in the 500 Freestyle with 5:42.27, as well as shaving off five seconds off her time for a new PR. Juniors Nicole Kemp and Clay Hoffman and Boyles and all swam the 100 Backstroke. Kemp and Boyles both got fourth in their races, and Hoffman came in eighth.
The Gresham swimmers commented on how well they were encouraging to throughout all the tough, intense and thrilling races.
“Our team is very supportive–everyone is cheering and super spirited. We’re all proud to be Gophs,” Strand said.
After event 14 the Gresham boys were leading districts. There are 22 total events. Gresham fans were endorsing their excitement.
“The meet has been very close,” senior Brennan Norwood said. “Out of all my district meets this has been the closest and most intense.”
Norwood took fifth in his 200 Freestyle and sixth in his 100 Freestyle. Improving in both events and establishing new PR’s.
The team was pleased with how well their teammates were improving and performing.
“I’m proud of our swimmers. They all gave 100 percent,” sophomore Tiffany Mosher said.
Mosher scored fourth in both her 100 Butterfly and 50 Freestyle.
Gresham swimmers could not let up, as the meet continued to be really tight in points for the boys. The mens team was still ahead after event 20, but barely.
Before the meet ended, coach Randy Williams stated that the meet was getting very close in points and that everyone had to stay focussed.
“It’s really tight with the boys, and we have a chance to do something really special right now. We have to close the meet out now,” Williams said.
With only two events to go, everyone was staying loud and pumped.
“I love cheering everyone on. I want to be loud so the swimmers and everyone can hear me,” junior swimmer Ryan Olsen said.
At the end of the day, the Gresham mens team took first overall, winning conference and the girls team took third place.
“We won districts my freshman year, and it’s pretty exciting to do it again my senior year,” Boyles said.
Parsons, however, is the only swimmer from Gresham going to State, strictly from times and performance at Districts.
“I’m proud that I am really going to State, and I’m excited because I’m only a sophomore going and I’m also the only one from Gresham,” Parsons said.
According to a spectator and parent Brenda Lowder, it was awesome to have such an amazing group of athletes representing all of the schools at the event.
The Gresham coaches were especially happy with their swimmers’ performance.
“That was pretty great. They swam great the whole day, and the girls did awesome too,” Williams said.
Taylor was pretty excited for how well his team did, too.
“It’s a great group of kids, they did a great job. It’s only the second time this has happened and they really deserve it, they all worked hard,” Taylor said.
The district swim meet was held at Mt. Hood Community College, and swim teams were all there on Feb. 8 for the first day of districts. Qualifiers then attended the second day to compete for a chance to swim at State.
Everyone swims on Friday, boys and girls, junior varsity and varsity and then the top 16 swimmers from each event go to districts on Saturday. Only the top swimmer from each event will then go to State on the following weekend, Feb. 16 and 17.
However, if a swimmer also can swim fast enough for a State qualifying time, then he or she can go to State based on that fast time, even if they were not first in their event. On Feb. 10, Gresham learned that more of their swimmers received a wildcard to go to State. This means that even though they were not first and did not have a State qualifying time, they were invited to swim at State anyway.
Jacobs will accompany Parsons for the boys, swimming the 100 Breaststroke, and Mosher will be swimming both the 50 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly for the girls. The mens 200 Medley relay will also be swimming.
Parsons unfortunately did not make it to the second day of State. Jacobs placed eleventh in State and was the only one to advance to the second day. Mosher did not make it to the second day of State in her 50 Freestyle and was just one place off of going to State the second day, as she placed thirteenth in 100 Butterfly.
The relay took fifteenth in State and also did not travel to the second day.