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Swim team opens eyes at Ted Walker Invite

Group picks up 26 top-5 finishes and sets top ‘B’ state times

The Dalles swim team member Kennedy Abbas helped the girls’ 11 and 12-year old 200-meter freestyle relay team to second place with a final marker of two minutes and 38.81 seconds. Joining Abbas was Lulu Grasa, Maisie Bandel-Ramirez and Lydia DiGennaro. In all, the swimmers racked up 26 top-5 finishes and several set ‘B’ state times at the 66th annual Ted Walker Invitational Saturday in The Dalles.

Contributed photo/Paul Carson
The Dalles swim team member Kennedy Abbas helped the girls’ 11 and 12-year old 200-meter freestyle relay team to second place with a final marker of two minutes and 38.81 seconds. Joining Abbas was Lulu Grasa, Maisie Bandel-Ramirez and Lydia DiGennaro. In all, the swimmers racked up 26 top-5 finishes and several set ‘B’ state times at the 66th annual Ted Walker Invitational Saturday in The Dalles.



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Lydia DiGennaro locked up state ‘B’ times in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle races at the three-day Ted Walker Invitational completed on Sunday.

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The Dalles swimmer Lindy Taylor was a key cog in the 400-meter freestyle relay event last weekend. The team heads to Pendleton for a meet on July 7-9.

In its first meet of the summer campaign, The Dalles swim team posted 26 top-5 finishes, including second-place outputs by Shantill Moody, Maverick Varland and both the boys and girls 200-meter freestyle relays at the 66th annual Ted Walker Invitational, ending Sunday at North Wasco County Aquatics Center in The Dalles.

“It was our first meet of the summer and the swimmers swam very well,” said head coach Scott McKay. “As you can tell by the improved times, most every swimmer swam personal bests.”

Moody notched her runner-up finish in the 200-meter butterfly event with a time of four minutes and 2.10 seconds and Varland came through in a solid 4:07.39 in his 200- meter freestyle attempt.

The 200- meter freestyle relay team of Kennedy Abbas, Lulu Grasa, Maisie Bandel-Ramirez and Lydia DiGennaro combined for a 2:38.81 for second place, and the 200- meter freestyle boys’ quartet of Michael Cole, Henry Perez, Logan Alvarez and Skyler Coburn wound up with a mark of 3:09.64.

Several swimmers achieved state ‘B’ times, led by DiGennaro, who placed sixth overall in the 100- meter freestyle after her 1:16.71 and she added ‘B’ mark of 34.66 to capture sixth in the 50- meter freestyle.

Sam Clear achieved a ‘B’ time in the 50- meter freestyle after his final time of 32.02.

There were nine others coming close to picking up ‘B’ times in solid efforts.

Cole had a 37.09 in the 50- meter freestyle, Abbas tallied a 38.92 in the 50- meter freestyle, Maisie Bandel-Ramirez went for a 48.61 in the 50- meter breaststroke, Kaiya Doty in the 50- meter breaststroke with a 1:09.30, Bree Webber had a 34.83 in the 50- meter freestyle, Carter Randal notched a 42.51 in the 50- meter freestyle and Kiera Taylor touched the wall in 53.53 in the 50- meter freestyle.

Varland appears to be on the right path toward setting his ‘B’ times, as he came close in three of his swims, the 50- meter freestyle (51.55), the 50- meter backstroke (58.94) and 50- meter breaststroke (1:12.50).

Kendall Webber had her top finishes in the 50- meter freestyle (35.84) and the 400- meter freestyle (6:14.69).

“Now that the swimmers know their initial times, they can see what they can accomplish if they work hard during the summer,” McKay added.

The girls’ 400- meter freestyle relay group of Jaeden Biehn, Lydia Evans, Hannah Biehn and Brianna Webber churned out a third-place tally of 5:41.02, and Bree Webber racked up third in the 400- meter freestyle with her final mark of 6:22.94.

In the same girls’ 400- meter freestyle relay race, Grasa, Lindy Taylor, Bandel-Ramirez and Kendall Webber timed out in 6:00.82 to secure fourth place, DiGennaro hit for a 7:44.37 to grab fourth in the 400- meter individual medley, Evans scored fourth in the 400- meter freestyle with her 7:11.85 and Moody had a 7:53.08 to get her fourth-place finish in the 400-meter individual medley.

The 11-12 girls’ 200-meter medley relay squad of Taylor, Bandel-Ramirez, DiGennaro and Grasa placed fourth with a 3:27.96, and the 13-and over 200- meter medley girls’ group of Kendall Webber, Evans, Jaeden Biehn and Brianna Webber tallied a 3:07.01 to secure fourth in the standings.

Doty had a 5:32.12 to claim fourth in the 200- meter individual medley, Moody went for a 1:49.23 for fourth in her 100- meter breastroke swim.

Rowan Bierwirth, Lillian Dupuis, Hannah Haight and Shea McAllister notched a 3:08.74 to grab fourth in the 200-meter freestyle relay, and the team of Moody, Marin Alvarez, Jaeden Biehn and Brianna Webber tacked on fourth-place honors in the 13 and older 200-meter freestyle relay.

With these times in the books, McKay is looking forward to even more progression over the next few meets, this way his group is peaking at the right time of the season.

“We are going to have to work hard, particularly on all the strokes, since we have focused on freestyle in these early weeks,” McKay said. “We have tremendous potential in the young swimmers and I am looking forward to many more fast swims this season.”

Facing tough programs from Hood River, Pendleton, Madras and other areas, with a total number of swimmers north of 300, McKay was impressed with how smoothly the three days ran.

The program raised funds to offset season expenses, and after the Duckie race, the program donated money to the local Special Olympics organization.

It is a credit to the sacrifice of the parents and volunteers, the preparation and organization of board members Guy McAllister, Amie DiGennaro, Staci Coburn, Rebecca Varland, Cyndi Camp, Laura Kirby, Didi Abbas and meet director Traci Waddington.

“The parents did a fantastic job running the meet,” McKay said. “It takes an incredible amount of work to put on such a nice meet that attracts swimmers from all corners of the state, as well as Washington. It was incredibly well run at a beautiful facility. And also, I want to thank the Parks and Recreation Department and all the sponsors.”

The swim team makes a trip to Pendleton for a three-day meet on July 7-9.



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