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The Sandy girls swimming team sets five school records on its way to claiming the NWOC district championship.

by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys 200-medley relay team, Zayna Salveter, Shelbi Hayzlett, Hannah Gupton and Asha Gatchell stand atop the awards podium Friday. When the four girls composing Sandy’s 200 medley relay swimming team approached the blocks in the opening event of the Northwest Oregon Conference district meet on Friday, they weren’t worried about any other team in the pool. The Pioneers knew they wouldn’t be matched by another foursome, but they weren’t without a daunting opponent. That opponent was a 28-year-old number hanging on a wall back at the Sandy Pool.

Asha Gatchell, Zayna Salveter, Hannah Gupton and Shelbi Hayzlett spent the whole season preparing to challenge the school record of 1:57.08 which was set almost three decades ago. It was no wonder that when Hayzlett dove into the pool for the final leg of the relay, the other three cheered her on like an Olympic gold medal was up for grabs.

“We knew the competition wasn’t going to be there, so we thought of the competition as being the clock,” Salveter said. “We knew we could do it, so we just went for it.”

As Hayzlett made the turn, Gatchell (backstroke), Salveter (breaststroke) and Gupton (butterfly) jumped higher and screamed louder with every stroke. When Hayzlett hit the wall, it was pure elation when the number popped up on the digital clock – 1:56.31.

“When I finished I had to look for a minute to find our time,” Hayzlett said. “When I saw it, I was completely relieved and happy. We were really on top of it and we swam our hearts out, so I felt like we had it.”

The four lady Pioneers didn’t just break the record, they crushed it by more than three-quarters of a second, and that was just the beginning. The Sandy girls broke four more school records on their way to capturing the NWOC district championship.

In almost every race, it felt like the Pioneers were doing something unheard of. About 20 minutes after the medley relay, Hayzlett was back in the pool for the individual medley championship. She beat everyone by more than seven seconds (2:18.83). Her time would have been good for fourth place in the boys’ race.

In the next event, the 50 yard freestyle, Gupton looked to defend her district championship. She swam the 50-yard length faster than she ever had in her life. Gupton smoked the field and finished at 24.89, beating the school record by one one-hundredth of a second.

Gupton was right back at in 100 yard butterfly, the event she won the state championship in as a freshman two years ago. She finished the race before any of her opponents made the turn for their final lap. She already held the school record of 58.33, but she broke her own mark with a time of 58.21. Her time would have also surpassed the official 5A state record of 58.29, but a time must be achieved at the state championships to qualify.

Gatchell, Salveter, Gupton and Hayzlett rode the wave of momentum created by their record-breaking swim earlier in the day straight into the 200 free relay. They thought they had an outside chance to reach the school record of 1:44.85, but knew they would have to shave three seconds off the time they posted in the preliminaries.

In the final, all four swimmers improved upon their prelim swims and they sent another school record crumbling down by posting a time of 1:44.23.

Hayzlett solidified the day as the best in Sandy girls’ swimming history with her performance in the 100 backstroke. In the process of again torching her opponents, Hayzlett turned in the fastest 100 back time in school history, 1:00.6.

All told, the Sandy girls won two of the three relays and four of the eight individual races. Despite being disqualified on a technicality in the 400 yard freestyle relay, Sandy still beat Wilsonville in the team competition by more than 40 points.

“It was just an amazing day,” Sandy coach Jamie Paul said. “To set five records, it just makes me so happy for them. And we had a lot of other swimmers get personal bests, so I could not have asked for more.”

In the boys’ competition, Sandy’s Nick Chaney made a big splash. He did not lose an individual race all season long and he kept that going at the district meet. Chaney won the 200 I.M. going away at 1:57.23. He jumped out to a cushy lead in the butterfly and backstroke legs, but significantly distanced himself from the others in the breaststroke portion of the race. He could have almost let the current he created carry him to victory in the freestyle leg, but decided to actually swim it and won by about 18 seconds.

For two years, Chaney has battled Liberty’s Daniel Lupro in high school and club competition for supremacy in the 100 breast. For most of this season, Chaney has been between one and two one-hundredths of a second better. In the preliminaries, Chaney beat Lupro by 0.15 seconds, but he left no doubt in the final. With the district championship on the line, Chaney outlasted Lupro by more than two seconds (58:15).

The Sandy boys finished sixth in the team competition.

For the second consecutive year, Gupton and Chaney were named district swimmers of the year. They, Hayzlett and the rest of the girls’ relay team will try to take their performance up one more notch as they compete in this weekend’s state championships at Mt. Hood Community College.

View a photo gallery from the meet at parkerlee.exposuremanager.com.

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