Swimmers tune up for district contest

In a tuneup for the district meet in two weeks, the Huskies had a chance to view the competition in Albany, the site for this year’s district event.

Though Sweet Home faced difficult odds with limited numbers in a meet that scored 12 places, they put up a fight to show they will be a force to be reckoned when district arrives. In the 11 team meet, the boys captured third place, narrowly edging Stayton 149 to 148. Both were well behind the meet champions, Junction City, who had their own tug of war with Philomath, coming out ahead 192-191.

Junction City and Philomath also took 1-2 in the girls division, but the race for third was tightly contested by four schools with just four points separating them. Cascade won that mini- battle with 131, while Sweet Home eked out the fourth place finish with 128 to 127 for North Marion and Marist.

The Huskies had two individual champions and one relay team also finished first. Sean Martin won his specialty, the 500 meter freestyle, by over 30 seconds. Later he anchored the boys victorious 200 meter relay team after swimming the opening leg of the boys 200 medley relay, in which they took second place. Jeff Stratman and Larry Coulter, also members of those relay teams, placed second in their individual events, Stratman in 200 freestyle and Coulter in the 100 meter individual medley. Andrew Holmes and Anthony Erstgaard were the other members of their relay teams, Holmes in the 200 free and Erstgaard in the 200 medley.

Freshman Nichole Martin continued her year’s outstanding work, this time by coming up with the lone victory for the girls, winning the 200 meter freestyle easily by a margin of 5 seconds.

Dani Birky brought up a third place for her effort in the 500 free as did Katie Jones in the 50 meter backstroke. Martin and Birky combined with Katie Stratman and Anne Helfrich, the lone senior girl, to place third in the 200 meter free relay.

The Huskies, who continued to train through this meet, hope to improve their showing when the district arrives. No swimmer participated in the maximum four events at Albany, so that leaves an opening for some of the stronger Husky swimmers to pick up additional points.

“With the yards they are doing and as tired as they are, it’s tough for us to win an event right now,” said head coach Doug Peargin. “It’s easier for distance people to do a good job when they are broken down. The sprinters are just starting to catch their breath.”

But Peargin noted that all of Sweet Home’s participants picked up points, either in their individual events or as a member of a relay team.

“When the whole team scores, you can’t whine,” stated Peargin.

In their last meet before tapering for district, the Huskies will host Jefferson and Redmond this Thursday. Peargin will use the meet to fine tune and get individual swimmers ready for their district events.