THE DALLES WAHTONKA swimmer Max McClennan cuts through the water in his backstroke try at the Mount Hood Swim Meet. This weekend in Hood River for the Eagle Indian Invitational, the Tribe put up some good times against 11 other teams as preparation for the district meet in February.
Didi Abbas/Contributed photo
With so many cancellations due to weather and road conditions, just getting extended time in the swimming pool has been a tough task to come by for The Dalles Wahtonka.
Saturday, this group finally hit the drink again and head coach Scott McKay said it was good for the swimmers to get in the water and race for the annual Eagle Indian Invitational Meet in Hood River.
In all, there were 11 teams from across the state on the scene ready to compete for some top times and first-place finishes in preparation for the upcoming district meet.
“We have four weeks of training and three more meets before districts and I am hoping to build on the effort they showed at the TDWHS meet,” McKay said.
On the girl’s side, perennial state qualifier, Erin Nelson, finished high in the 50-yard freestyle event by finishing in third place.
The Eagle Indians also had some solid performances with scores put up in the same 50-yard freestyle with Annessa Clear finishing in fourth place, and teammate Allie Wood churned out a good marker for sixth place.
As one of the up-and-coming freshmen on the roster, Molly Nelson swam a strong race in the 100-yard backstroke where she touched the wall for a third-place outcome.
In addition to that quartet, Allie Wood had all the breaks work in her favor Saturday in winning the 100-yard butterfly with her best time of the campaign.
The two relay teams rattled off a pair of strong 200-yard freestyle relay attempts, as the girls combined forces for second place.
For the boys, Ming Ou rallied for a second-place output for his try at the 100-yard butterfly event with a rally close to his best time of the year.
Andrew Clifford, a sophomore, looks to be a potential standout as the season goes on, as he notched third place in the 200-yard freestyle event, motoring to his fastest time.
Also on the relay side, the boy’s 200-yard freestyle group came together for third place in a respectable time.
“You can celebrate the highs and deal with the lows and just appreciate how well the swimmers performed in this meet,” McKay said. “I was proud of the swimmers’ effort and attitude during the meet. We need to continue to figure out a way to stay strong throughout a meet like we had today.”
TDW is in Hood River for another tough test starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Hood River Aquatic Center.
After that, the Eagle Indians head to La Grande, and then caps the regular season in Baker City on Feb. 8.
The Columbia River Conference district meet begins on Feb. 15.
McKay is looking forward to this next phase to see how his group responds.
“The team is looking strong and if they can keep up the effort, we will have many strong races at districts,” he said. “We have less than four weeks, so the team will have to make the best of the remaining time we have to prepare.
“With a small conference, there is a real premium on quantity as well as quality and we just don’t have the number of swimmers. But, we do have some good talent and should compete well.”