Competing against a stout field this past weekend at the Bend Open Swim Invitational, The Dalles Swim Team head coach Scott McKay liked what he saw from his young group in their final event of the summer season.
At the Juniper Swim and Fitness Center Sunday afternoon, TDST scored 11 top-15 finishes, four in the top-5, including a 25-yard freestyle victory by Rhylie Van Matre in three days of action in Bend.
“The Bend Open was our last meet of the summer and the swimmers have made significant progress over the summer as you can tell by the times,” McKay said. “We were focused on times and personal improvement. Everyone improved, with a very few exceptions, on their times.”
Van Matre shaved nearly nine seconds off her previous best mark in the 25-yard freestyle with a time of 24.87 seconds to lead the six-years old and under category.
In the same race, Willow Ziegenhagen picked up third-place honors in 37.71.
Van Matre wasn’t down there, she added a mark of 42.50 to grab third-place honors in her try at the 25-yard backstroke.
Scoring fifth place in the boys’ 10 and under 200-yard freestyle relay, was the quartet of Sterling Coburn, Egan Ziegenhagen, Colin Webber and Vincent Ziegenhagen with a time of 3:49.96.
Sterling Coburn, Skyler Coburn, Xander Kirby and Vincent Ziegenhagen placed eighth in the 12 and under 200-yard relay medley in a time of 4:14.13.
Rounding out the top-10 outcomes was the 10 and under 200-yard girls’ freestyle team of Kaiya Doty, Rylee Camp, Sydney Parker and Van Matre, who combined forces for a final marker of 4:03.86 to grab ninth place to score 18 points for the Dolphins.
The group of Hanna Ziegenhagen, Lydia Evans, Marin Alvarez and Brianna Webber etched out a 2:49.20 to pick up 12th-place honors in the 200-yard freestyle medley relay.
Taking home 13th place in the standings was the 12 and under 200-yard freestyle relay team of Kendall Webber, Maisie Bandel-Ramirez, Grace Haskins and Lydia DiGennaro with a combined time of 2:23.04.
On the individual side, Samuel Clear placed 13th in the 13 and over 50-yard butterfly with a time of 32.74, an improvement of 5.34 seconds from his season-best.
The team of Lillian Dupuis, Riley Parker, Maddy Stansbury and Alexandria Rector had a mark of 2:53.43 to grab 14th place in the female 200-yard relay medley
In the 50-yard breastroke, Jesse Underhill had a time of 40.57 for 15th place in the 13 and over boys’ division.
The 12 and under 200-yard girls’ freestyle relay team of Dupuis, Parker, Rector and Stansbury had a time of 3:07.83 to pick up 16th place.
Sterling Coburn scored 19th place in the boys’ 50-yard freestyle with a 2.41-second improvement and a time of 41.46.
In all, the swimmers cut down season-best times in 50 performances over the weekend, and that level of progression is just what McKay likes to see.
“It is really hard to point out any particular swimmer or swimmers because they all improved so much,” McKay said. “I am excited to see the growth in the swimmers since last year and with a tremendous group of parents, the fantastic support of Northern Wasco Parks and Recreation Department and the community, I see The Dalles Swim Team becoming the best summer swim team in the state and be competitive with the year-round programs.”
In the 50-yard 13 and over butterfly race, Underhill placed 21st with a mark of 40.57.
Van Matre showed a 3.86-second improvement in her eight and under 50-yard freestyle race with a time of 58.46 for a top-24 outcome.
Also taking 24th and 25th place, respectively, in the female eight and under freestyle event was the duo of Camp (26.00) and Doty (26.79).
Clear added 27th in the boys 13 and over freestyle race in 29.20, and the tandem of Evans and Alvarez placed inside the top-30 of the 13 and over girls 50-yard backstroke, as Evans tallied a 45.95 and Alvarez was right behind in 29th place with a final time of 46.25.
Just completing his second season as coach, along with Allie Wood, McKay knows the best is yet to come.
There was an uptick in participation, especially in the 10 and under ranks, so the program is steadily building depth for the future.
In order to compete with teams from Hermiston, Pendleton, Bend and beyond, McKay said the athletes will still need to log laps in the pool and keep up with their work ethic.
He said there is a tremendous amount of potential.
“I am looking forward to seeing which swimmers work hard enough to reach that higher level in swimming, but we still have a lot of work to do to get there,” McKay said. “The swimmers are enthusiastic and eager to learn. And what is fun is, I am still learning how to help them to get to where they want to go.”
The Dalles Swim Team hosts an intra-squad meet from 8-10 a.m. this Friday. Swimmers should arrive for warmups at 7 a.m. and volunteers are still needed to help time events.
After that, the team has its year-end party from 7-9 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 15, to celebrate the season.
For more information on the program and future upcoming events, call 541-980-2106.