Boys third at state swim meet

Sweet Home swimmers surprised a number of swim fans Friday and Saturday as the Huskies, who lost a load of talent from last year’s championship squad, had enough grit left to snag a third place trophy.

Coach Doug Peargin’s Huskies finished with 31 points to place behind champion LaGrande, 49, and Seaside with 43 points. Following were Lasalle, Valley Catholic, Sherwood, Junction City, Banks, Astoria and Cottage Grove.

Wilsonville captured the girls title with 52 points and was followed by Seaside with 44, LaGrande with 39 1/2 and then Newport, LaSalle, Cascade, Cottage Grove, Henley, Junction City and a tie for Stayton and Sherwood.

Although the girls didn’t place as a team, the 200 medley relay team pulled a sixth place finish.

“I just couldn’t have been happier with this crew,” Coach Peargin said. “They all had lifetime bests at district and then lowed those times even more in the prelims and finals at state. What more could a coach ask for?”

Eight Huskies made the trip to the Osborn Aquative Center in Corvallis and all eight brought home at least one medal.

“Our five seniors last year brought home a total of 18 medals from the state meet,” Coach Peargin said. “That’s how much talent we lost. But this group of kids just kept working harder and harder.”

Coach Peargin credits an extensive work out program with the squad’s success.

“Most teams that swim two-a-days quit doubles about Christmas. We just keep working more. You have to have the extra something to reach back for when the going gets tough. When the other guy is ready to quit, we’re just starting to hurt,” Coach Peargin said.

Junior Rhys Birky was the big gun for the Huskies, taking second in the 200 I.M. (in which he was state champion a year ago), a third in the 100 freestyle and swimming a hot leg on the 200 medley relay that took second.

Birky’s time in the 100 free (48.3) was good enough to break the old school mark held by James Seward by two/one hundredths of a second. He placed third behind champion Mike Stoners of Seaside, 47.54 and Ben Karlin of Valley Catholic in 47.61.

Birky shaved four seconds off his time in the 200 I.M. for second place.

The boys 200 medley relay squad of Jeff Ecker, Birky, Adam Cheek and Sean Martin clocked a 1:47.8 for second behind LaGrande’s winning time of 1:46.75.

Rounding out the boys scoring was Jeff Ecker, who took fifth in the 100 backstroke in 1:00.7. Ecker cut a full second of fhis district time. Kyle Tannehill of Sherwood won the race in 55.04.

The girls 200 medley relay shaved one second off its prelim time, clocking a 2:05.09 for sixth place and their only meet points. Team members are Andrea Yunke, Nicole Starha, Megan Blank and Marie Duncan.

“These were all good races,” Coach Peargin said. “I’m just happy the kids did as well as they did and put it all together.”