The Dalles Swim Team summer season is only nine weeks long, but Coach Scott McKay is impressed with how the team has learned from its short time together.
“Our first meet was our Ted Walker Swim Meet in June after just two weeks of practice, but they did very well for so little time in the water,” McKay said.
Last week, the team traveled east for its second meet, the Pendleton Open Swim Meet, and McKay said the team’s growth was evident.
“The Pendleton meet is always very competitive, with more than 400 swimmers and 15 teams competing from Oregon and Washington, including Portland, Bend, Tri-Cities and Walla Walla,” McKay said. “The team’s goal is to keep improving times, and that was demonstrated at Pendleton where over half the times were personal bests.”
McKay pointed out that Kennedy Abbas improved her time in the 50 freestyle by 6.8 seconds in Pendleton.
“We are a young and enthusiastic team, and I hope to keep building on these young swimmers and keep improving and becoming more competitive,” McKay said.
Those finishing in the top 10 of their respective events scored points for the team, and swimmers who scored included Maverick Varland, who placed in the top 10 in five events. Varland’s best showing was a third place in the 100 meter freestyle for boys 8 and under. He also scored a fourth, two fifths, and a seventh place.
Also, Abbas scored a 10th place finish in the 200 freestyle for girls 10 and under.
McKay added that two swimmers competed in the 1,500 meter freestyle, considered one of the toughest events.
“Both swimmers were rewarded for their effort,” McKay said. “Xander Kirby scored a second in the boys 12 and under 1,500 freestyle, and Lydia Digennaro swam a great race in the girls 12 and under 1,500 freestyle, finishing seventh.”
The team also had several relay teams score in the top 10.
The girls 200 freestyle relay, with Maddy Stansbury, Lillian Dupuis, Kaia Grasa, and Rhylie Van Matre, came in fifth; while the boys 200 freestyle relay squad scored an eighth with Skyler Coburn, Maverick Varland, Sterling Coburn, and Carter Randall.
In the 200 medley relay for girls 12 and under, the team scored a 10th place with Kendall Webber, Maise Bandel-Ramirez, Lydia Digennaro, and Kennedy Abbas. In the boys 12 and under 200 medley relay, the team earned a seventh place with Chase Sam, Connor Sam, Xander Kirby, and Leo Lemann.
“Several swimmers had outstanding meets, improving times in most all of their events,” McKay said. “They include Maise Bandel-Ramirez, Lucy Booth, Rylee Camp, Skyler Coburn, Lillia Dupuis, and Lulu Grasa.”
The team is hosting the annual “Dolphin Dive” on Friday, July 22, to raise money for much needed equipment such as kick boards, swim fins and paddles. Swimmers are asked to get sponsors for every lap they swim across the width of the pool.
“So if any swimmer asks for you to sponsor them, I hope folks will,” McKay said.
McKay added that he wanted to thank Shortt Supply in Hood River for providing the swim caps for the team.
“The team relies on the support of the community, and we hope we will do the community proud,” he said.
The team’s final meet of the season will be Aug. 6-8 in Bend.
“We will be working hard to prepare for Bend so we can end the season on a high note with our best times,” McKay said.