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Prineville and Lakeview expected to battle for championship at meet which starts Friday in John Day

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Emma Hehn works on her conditioning and form during a recent practice. Hehn and the rest of the Prineville Swim Team are one of the favorites to win the Cascade East District Meet, which starts tonight in John Day. For years the Prineville Swim Team was the dominant squad in the Cascade East District.

Then, for several years, the Prineville team finished in the middle of the pack.

Last year, the team once again earned control, rolling to a district championship.

Prineville hopes to retain the title this weekend as they travel to John Day for the Cascade East District Championships.

"I do expect it to be a good fight between Lakeview and us," swim team head coach Halley Estes said. "We definitely have age groups where we are stronger and they have age groups where they are stronger."

Based on season results, Prineville and Lakeview should be in a tight battle for the district championship. Both teams are loaded with talented swimmers, and both teams have adequate depth to score points in the relay events.

Meanwhile, neither the host John Day Swim Team nor the Hi-Desert Swim Team from Burns look to have enough firepower to keep pace with either Lakeview or Prineville.

Both Prineville and Lakeview have elected to swim against year-round programs this summer in an effort to get better competition for their swimmers. That should pay dividends for both teams as they enter the district meet.

Prineville, which is expected to enter more than 80 swimmers in the district meet, has strong swimmers in most of age groups. However, according to Estes, the team is especially strong in the boys 9-10 age group and in the girls 15-18 age group.

Bradie Hugie, Wyatt King and Luke Grogan should provide lots of points in the boys 9-10 age group. Likewise, Emma Hehn and Victoria Coalwell should be particularly strong in the girls 15-18 age group.

Other swimmers to watch for include Duke Wentzel, Caleb Decker, Cade Grogan and Landon Lockling in the boys 11-12 age group; Zachary Levesque, Cameron Carr, Nathan DelaPena and Birch Barker in the boys 13-14 age group; and Garrett McMichael in the boys 15-18 age group, and Pati Carne in the girls 11-12 age group.

"It's going to be our depth that makes the difference," Hehn said. "For us to win, it's going to take the kids who are taking fourth and fifth place. I'm pretty confident that the kids are going to perform well and that we are going to win. They've been working hard so I expect to see some outstanding performances and a lot of time drop."

The Cascade East District Meet will start at 6 p.m. this Friday night and continue through Sunday afternoon.

Swimming starts at 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, with the final results expected sometime early Sunday afternoon.

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