Several MST swimmers pace team at home meet
The Madras Swim Team's wall of records was upended last Saturday at the Madras Aquatic Center, as Lexi Williams, 11, made the most of the events she competed in.
All four of Williams' swims were team records. Two of them, the 100- and 200-yard freestyle, topped old records she set. The other two times — 1 minute, 10.54 seconds in the 100 individual medley and 32.56 in the 50 butterfly, broke records formerly held by Sophie Gemelas.
Williams has now qualified for state in a grand total of eight events, though MST head coach Tim Nelson noted swimmers can compete in no more than six events at state.
The home meet included swimmers from Klamath Falls, Portland Aquatic Club, Current Swimming (Bend), Redmond and Hood River. In all, 145 swimmers competed, which Nelson said was the most in a MST-hosted meet.
"We're making inroads into some names around the state," Nelson said. "This meet probably maxes out at 180, so we're getting there."
That number also included approxiamtely 25 new swimmers on MST, all of whom are between 12 and 16 years old.
Whether they were experienced or newcomers, several MST swimmers made waves in front of the home crowd.
Ava Williams, 7, clocked a 23.44 in the 25 fly, which broke a longstanding record (23.86) previously set by Alesha Freeman in 2008.
She narrowly missed out on another record after finishing in 19.41 in the 25 free, only .18 of a second off of a record held by Lexi Williams — Ava's older sister.
"Anybody that says they can beat Lexi's record is pretty phenomenal, and it's going to be her little sister," Nelson said.
Sawyer Rhodes, 8, claimed the top time in the boys 8 and under 25 free (19.22), 25 fly (24.93) and 25 backstroke (23.05). Nelson said Rhodes will move up to the 9-10 boys division after his December birthday, but has been impressed with his progress in his first year on MST.
"He's progressing really nicely," Nelson said. "If he sticks with it, he's going to be a good one."
Of the newcomers, Lizzy McCourtney, 12, trimmed more than 10 seconds off of her 50 free time in practice to last Saturday's meet, as she clocked a 37.49. Willow Haynes-Thoreson, 8, clocked a 21.85 in the 25 free, which Nelson noted was a very good time for her first meet. Fresh off of his sixth birthday, Tommy Norton finished in 25.69, which bested eight older boys competing in the same division.
Then on Sunday, Nelson, along with Lexi Williams and Julian Hollingshead, 12, traveled to the OSI Awards Ceremony in Canby, where both were given awards for their performances earlier this year at OSI state meets.
Next up, MST swimmers Gabi Smith and Aurora Gerhardt will compete in the Bend Swim Club 13 and over High Desert Classic on Saturday. Five others will compete in the Canby Gator IMR/IMX Challenge, which goes from Friday to Sunday.