Forest Grove swimmers set their sights on districts
It all comes down to this — kind of.
For the Forest Grove boys and girls swim teams, a quality league swim season culminates with this week's Pacific Conference District Championships Friday, Feb. 14, at the McMinnville Aquatic Center in McMinnville.
The Vikings' boys and girls, who both finished 4-2 in league duals, will swim one final time, with bids to next week's OSAA State Swimming Championships on the line.
"It's huge," Forest Grove head coach Tabor Waterstreet said. "It's a good environment with good energy, and the experience of getting to state really gives an extra bit of stoke and fires the kids up. Any taste of getting to a meet you've never been to is always a helpful and invigorating thing, so it's good thing."
Waterstreet said he has five kids who have good shots to qualify for state, with both the girls 200 and 400 yard freestyle relays teams also having a chance.
The boys are led by senior Levi Jorgensen, who placed fifth at state in the 100 yard freestyle last year. Waterstreet said Jorgensen has looked exceptionally strong in recent weeks, and the coach feels good about his chances to qualify for and do some damage at the state event.
"Levi has been strong as a rock all year," the coach said. "He's been improving and putting extra time into the water. His dolphin kicking stuff has improved dramatically and that will help him out a ton. Definitely looking for him to be top three if not at the top at districts, and maybe top three at state."
Unfortunately, the boys squad lost a couple of swimmers due to issues beyond the pool, but Waterstreet is still confident that Jorgensen, along with butterfly swimmer Ryan Perez, can make a splash at districts if they bring their A-game.
"The kids are training together and training hard," Waterstreet said. "Things are going well."
On the girls side, the coach singled out co-captain Luci Brenner, McKenzie Brennan and sophomore Hannah Bartoo as swimmers to watch. Waterstreet said both Brenner and Brennan struggled a bit early in the year, but are starting to hit their stride heading into the district meet and expectations are high. Also, Bartoo — who's the team's primary distance swimmer — looks good as the season winds to a close.
"Hannah (Bartoo) is my distance swimmer and her great ability has been dwarfed a bit by Daphne (Janko) in the past," Waterstreet said. "But her 500 is looking strong and I expect her to finish one or two at districts and get to state."
In all, Waterstreet has been proud of the entire team and is excited about what districts — and hopefully state — have to offer for the Vikings going forward.
"We've seen a lot of improvement," he said. "This time of year you really see it with endurance, with kids getting more and more yards in, and you start to see that during races. I'd still like to see them finish a little stronger, but that's not really about endurance, but rather more closely tied to focus. Hopefully in the last part of the season we can tighten things up and do some great stuff."
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