Molalla swimmers overcome heat for cool finish
Molalla swim coach Melissa Georgesen said it will be remembered as the hottest swim meet of the 2021 season -- and perhaps beyond. The 4A state swimming championships on Saturday, June 26, at the Warren H. Daugherty Aquatic Center in Cottage Grove got caught up in the unprecedented heat wave.
Despite record-breaking heat, the Molalla swim team had some good performances, including a state title swim by a talented freshman.
The girls started the meet out with the 200 medley relay. Alison Wickham, Meritxell Anguera, Marie Mason and Kayden Harris placed ninth overall with a time of 2 minutes, 12.78 seconds. The boys also raced the 200 medley relay -- Aidan Barnett, Kurtis Wagner, Jordan Cowan and Dylan Hadden also delivered a ninth-place performance a time of 2:03.19.
"The medley relays are always a great way to kick off the meet," head coach Melissa Georgesen said. "Each of the swimmers gets to swim a different stroke, and by the end, during the freestyle leg, the pool is deafening with the cheers of the coaches and teams. It's a great way to get everyone excited for the meet."
Freshman Marie Mason delivered some excitement of her own, swimming in the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle, along with swimming legs on two relays. She placed third in the 200 IM in 2:16.30, then went on to claim the state title in the 500 freestyle in 5:29.72.
"Marie and I discussed strategy (for the 500) prior to the meet," Georgesen said. "I told her to go out and set the pace she wanted, to push the other girls to keep up."
Mason did just that, pulling away with a Stayton swimmer until finally breaking her in the last 100 to claim the win.
"She made her move and didn't look back," Georgesen said. "I am really proud of her effort."
Georgesen said it was the first state title won by a Molalla swimmer in "a very long time. I've been with the team for 10 seasons and we have come close a few times."
Junior Alison Wickham contributed legs on the relays and placed 14th in the 100 freestyle in 1:07.79. Meritxell Anguera, a foreign exchange student from Spain, snagged an eighth place finish in the 100 breaststroke. Anguera swims for a club in Barcelona and will be heading back home in July.
The girls 200 freestyle relay was seventh in a time of 2:01.19 and the boys snagged 12th in the same event in 1:52.04. Freshman Kurtis Wagner was eighth in the 200 individual medley in 2:24.21, then took 10th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:16.74. Junior Jordan Cowan was sixth in the 50 freestyle in 24.25 and fifth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 58.12. Sophomore Aidan Barnett placed 15th in the 500 freestyle in a time of 7:10.17. Barnett had just become eligible to swim the week before the meet and then, when another swimmer had to drop out, he got a spot at the state meet.
The boys 400 freestyle relay team of Sergio Mota, Anthony Ehleringer, Dominic Robles and Dyland Hadden wrapped up the warm and wet day in Cottage Grove.
"The boys had a long, hot day waiting for the event, but they got out there and swam awesomely," Georgesen said. "I am really proud of their effort."
From a team standpoint, the boys finished 14th, while the girls picked up a 10th place finish.
"This short season was a lot of fun, and even more work, but we are ready to be back at it in our usual season," Georgesen said.
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