Across the board, a majority The Dalles swim team showed vast improvements on their times at the 52nd annual Pendleton Open from July 6-8 in Pendleton.
Of the impressive group of swimmers, all of TD’s points were scored by the 9-year-old and under swimmers with Sam Ford, 7, scoring the most points at 28.
Danner Varland, 7, added 19 points, Holden Diehl, 7, racked up 12, Salma Ladkani, 8, tallied eight and Ximena McAllister, 7, tallied nine points to round out the top-5 individuals.
Maili Doty (6), Rhett Loughmiller (6), Thatcher Dray (5), Kaiya Doty (3) and Maverick Varland (3) were the other standouts.
In his six eight-and-under events, Ford had two top-3 finishes, with his best run coming in the 50-meter butterfly, where he touched the wall in one minute and 53.57 seconds for third place. He added a 1:28.39 to grab fifth place in the 50-meter breastroke.
He showed the greatest improvement in the 100-meter backstroke with his mark of 3:06.62, a 5.15-second improvement.
Danner Varland shaved down significant time in all four of his races, his best tally coming in the 100-meter backstroke, where he grabbed fifth place after his 2:53.21, a 30.41 improvement.
He added a 21.91-second jump in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 2:26.25.
Diehl Placed sixth in the 50-meter breastroke in 1:33.05 for his best finish, and also added a 4.06-second improvement in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 1:09.06.
Ladkani had a time of 1:23.64 in the 50-meter backstroke and put up a 2:54.56 in the 100-meter freestyle.
McAllister placed seventh in the 50-meter freestyle with her time of 1:14.20 and she cut 4.75 seconds off her previous best in the 100-meter freestyle (2:44.50).
Maili Doty, 5, had a time of 1:27.72 for 10th place in the 50-meter backstroke, a 4.28-second improvement and she added a 1:16.22 in the 50-meter freestyle to grab eighth place.
Loughmiller was fifth in the 400-meter freestyle after a final rally of 7:54.87 and he cut 3.25 seconds to secure 15th place in the 100-meter freestyle, where he timed out in 1:42.44.
Thatcher Dray, 8, went for a 1:30.23 in the 50-meter backstroke and he was in eighth place after a time of 2:31.51 in the 100-meter freestyle.
Kaiya Doty had solid marks in several events, her best coming in the 100-meter freestyle, where she cut 31.02 seconds with her 1:46.28. She added a 3:52.86, a 17.17-second improvement in the 200-meter freestyle and she cut 3.03 seconds for 10th place in the 100-meter breastroke (2:06.38).
Maverick Varland cut 11.46 seconds to get his 2:16.43 in the 100-meter breastroke and he placed 10th overall in the 200-meter individual medley after a 4:49.96, an 8.20-second improvement.
Lydia DiGennaro shaved 32.16 seconds for her top mark in the 1,500-meter freestyle with a time of 23:30.42 and she had a 13.34-second improvement in the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 3:03.06.
Maisie Bandel-Ramirez broke through with a B time in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 34.30 and Kendall Webber swam B times in the 50-and-100-meter freestyle, hitting for a 33.92 in the 50 and 1:13.91 in the 100.
Carter Randall add a 6:59.41 in the 400-meter freestyle and he cut 13.81 seconds in the 200-meter freestyle with his time of 3:17.03.
Michael Cole had a time of 1:44.24 in the 100-meter backstroke and he dropped 9.11 seconds in the 200-meter freestyle (2:57.08).
This weekend, the swim team was in John Day.
“During our season the team swims four meets,” Coach Scott McKay said. “Both The Dalles and the Pendleton meets are long course meters meet — the pools are both 50 meters long. In John Day, and then our end of the season in Bend, on the second weekend of August, both of those meets are short-course yards meets - in other words, each length is 25 yards long like Hood River.”
McKay is happy with the progression. He is not interested in wins or losses, but the kids working feverishly to drop times and move from ‘B’ times up to ‘A’ times in the future. They are on the right track though, so things are looking good.
“We will keep working hard and try to keep it fun,” McKay said. “We have a great group of swimmers with a core group of experienced swimmers and a good crop of enthusiastic younger swimmers - as young as 5 years old.”
The coach added that the challenge is getting the swimmers to believe that with a commitment to swimming harder and smarter, they can be really good competitive swimmers.
“A couple swimmers are there, and a few are getting close and many are just not there yet, but they can be. We will see,” McKay said. “As coaches, we can help them be better swimmers, but it is up to them to be really fast swimmers.”