Husky swimmers set two state, six school records in 2nd-place state finish

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home High School girls swim team finished second, setting two state records, in the 4A/3A/2A/1A state championships Saturday in Beaverton.

Four girls, Megan Hager, Jamie Seward, Malia Hewitt and Chloe Tyler, earned spots in the finals to place second as a team with 65 points.

The four swimmers brought home a total of 15 medals.

“That was one of our best state meets that we’ve swum in in the last 20 years,” said Coach Doug Peargin, for whom the meet completed his 49th year at the helm for Sweet Home. “Every girl on the team had PR’s.”

Catlin Gabel was the state champion with 78 points, while La Grande was third with 49 points, and Marist finished fourth with 21 points.

Newport was the state champion in boys swimming, followed by Madras in second, St. Mary’s in third and La Grande and Cascade Christian tied for fourth.

Hager set a state and school record in the 200 Freestyle with a time of 1:50.29 Friday in the preliminary round. She placed first in the event Saturday, in 1:50.63.

In the finals, Hager, Jamie Seward, Malia Hewitt and Chloe Tyler set a state record, winning the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:39.65, placing first in the event.

“When you set school records and two state records, I’d have to say we had one heck of a year,” Peargin said.

Sayer finished 11th in the 500 Freestyle prelims, in a PR of 5:53.5, and Hunter Calderwood, finished 12th in the boys 500 Free prelims, in 5:42.3. Sayer also swam a leg in the 200 Medley Relay preliminary, and Torree Hawken swam in the 200 Freestyle Relay preliminary.

“On paper, we’re third behind La Grande and Catlin Gabel,” Peargin said, following the finals Saturday. “We got everything out of everybody that we can possibly get. We broke state records, then we got oodles of school records. With the number of kids we had, we could not have done any better.”

“Between the four of us, we broke seven school records and two state records,” Hager said. “We were shooting for a top-three finish. Getting second with four finalists is incredible. We came to compete, and that’s what we did.

“We knew we had to move up in our rankings, and we all did.”

After setting a school record, in 1:47.93, in the 200 Medley Relay to start things off Saturday, Hager delivered the win in the 200 Freestyle.

Hewitt, a sophomore, finished second in the 200 Individual Medley, in 2:11.53, behind Catlin Gabel’s Eva Carlson, who swam 2:06.41.

Hager then placed second in the 100 Freestyle, setting another school record of 51.2 to finish behind Catlin Gabel’s Lizzy Cook, who swam 49.71, just off the all-division state record of 49.46.

Tyler was third in that race, in 54.19, a little slower than the 53.33 PR she posted the day before.

Following their 200 Freestyle Relay performance, in which Hager swam a school-record lead-off leg of 23.8, Tyler delivered another win, in the 100 Backstroke, finishing in a school-record 58.21, with Seward behind her third, in 1:00.81.

Tyler won that race as a sophomore, Hager noted.

Hewitt, who along with Seward is also a sophomore, finished the day for Sweet Home with a second-place finish in the 100 Breaststroke, in a school-record 1:05.87.

Team members noted big improvements from their district meet finishes and times.

“So we all improved,” Seward said.

“We raced our butts off,” Tyler said.

“If we would’ve had one more person, we could’ve been in another relay,” Seward said.

“And probably could’ve won,” Tyler added.

Seward, who is also a top volleyball player for Sweet Home, finished seventh in the 50 Freestyle, swimming 25.87, just missing the finals by one spot.

Peargin said his team delivered.

“Out of any of the meets in the entire year, as a coach you wish that the last high school meet that the kids swim is the one that they do their best in – and they did,” he said. “We outswam all the teams there. We just got beat on depth. We went there on a business trip and they took care of business.

“I’m so proud of them. I’m just glad I was able to be there with them and watch them compete.”