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A dual with Silverton, then a pair of invitationals have Indians opening the season on a busy note

The Molalla High swim team got its season off to a splashing start with a dual meet at Silverton on Dec. 7. The early season meet was a good way for coach Melissa Georgesen to see how her team has progressed after four weeks of practice.

"This is a preseason meet, so to speak," Georgesen said. "Silverton runs JV events and we do not, so we keep things fun and light, as it's so early in the season. We have 29 swimmers on our team this year, with lots of raw talent. The kids have been working hard for the first four weeks to build technique. Tonight was a great opportunity to see their skills and hard work.

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"Our kids had a great meet, and I am very proud of their effort," the coach added. "I saw times (in) that match last season's best (effort), and that makes me look forward to seeing the swimmers drop more time as this season progresses."

Leading the way individually was senior Jordan Cowan, who placed third in the 200 Freestyle and first in the 500 Freestyle. Junior Aidan Barnett placed third in the 100 Butterfly and first in the 100 Backstroke. Sophomore Kurtis Wagner placed first in the 200 Individual Medley and third in the 100 Breaststroke.

On the relay front, Cowan, Barnett, Wagner and senior Kaidn Neely swam to a first-place finish in the 200 Individual Medley relay and second in the 400 Freestyle Relay.

"While the boys did not finish in a new personal best, they had a good swim," Georgesen said. "I am really excited to see how these boys finish the season."

On the girl's side, sophomore Marie Mason won both of her individual events -- the 200 Free and the 100 Fly.

"Marie is swimming extremely strong this year. She has been working hard at club swim and has set clear goals for this year," Georgesen said. "Marie will absolutely be a contender at the state meet in February."

Freshman Karmen Kendoll placed first in the 100 Backstroke and fourth in the 200 Free.

"I put Karmen in one of her best events, and one she needs to work on," Georgesen explained. "Karmen met the challenge without complaint and swam beautifully."

Mason and Kendoll, along with senior Alison Wickham and foreign exchange student Jimena Hernandez, swam the 200 Medley Relay and the 400 Free Relay, placing first and second, respectively.

Additionally, Wickham placed third in the 200 Individual Medley and second in the 100 Freestyle. Hernandez, who is from Spain, placed third in the 50 Free and first in the 100 Breaststroke.

"Jimena has been a nice addition to our team," Georgesen said. "She works really hard and has a great attitude."

Senior Payton Miller, who will be a key contributor to the girl's team, did not swim at this meet due to recovering from a dental procedure, according to the coach. She will rejoin the Indian girls at the meet on Friday hosted by Scappoose.

"The girls may have a small team (in numbers) but they are a mighty force," Georgesen said. "They are going to continue to push one another until we get to the district swim meet."

The next home swim meet will be Wednesday, Dec. 15, at the Molalla Aquatic Center. Spectators are limited, but the meet can be viewed via live stream on Facebook at Molalla High Swimming.

On Dec. 10 the Molalla High swim team attended the River City Invitational Swim Meet, hosted by Scappoose High. Unfortunately, this meet coincided with a band concert at MHS, so the Indians swam with less than half of their team as they took on Scappoose, Blanchet, The Dalles, Gladstone and Silverton high schools.

"Despite having a smaller than usual team, we swam well," coach Melissa Georgesen said. "The ladies medley relay and 200 freestyle relay, comprised of Payton Miller, Karmen Kendoll, Jimena Hernandez and Alison Wickham, both finished in third place.

Kendoll placed fourth in the 200 IM and second in the 100 breaststroke, Miller placed third in the 100 fly and won the 100 IM.

"This meet is special, running the 100 IM, because it is not normally swum in our league," Georgesen explained. "So, it is fun to toss a couple kids in and let them have fun. Kayden Harris finished fourth in this event as well."

Alison Wickham placed third in the 500 freestyle and fourth in the 100 backstroke and Kurtis Wagner was second in the 100 freestyle and second in the 500 freestyle.

"Despite having smaller numbers, the swim team was supportive of each other and had a good time," Georgesen said. "It's still early enough in the season that the team is figuring out what they want to swim and how to do it all. It takes time to build the stamina it will take to compete at districts. The kids are doing just as anticipated, and I am really proud of them."

A day later, the Indians were back in the pool for more competition, swimming at an invitational by Riverdale High School at Lewis & Clark College on Dec. 11.

Once again at full strength, the Indians had a strong showing.

The girls 200 medley relay placed second to Catlin Gabel, coming in at 2 minutes, 10.34 seconds. Marie Mason, Karmen Kendoll, Payton Miller and Alison Wickham made up this relay. The 200 was only a start as this quartet returned to win the 400 freestyle relay later on.

The boys 200 medley relay also placed second to Catlin Gabel, with a time of 2:00.46. Jordan Cowan, Aidan Barnett, Kurtis Wagner and Kaidn Neely made up squad, which would copy the girls by later winning the 400 free relay.

Other notable performances were: Payton Miller won the 200 freestyle and placed third in the 100 fly, Aidan Barnett placed third in the 200 freestyle and first in the 500 freestyle, Marie Mason won the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke, Alison Wickham was fourth in the 200 IM and fifth in the 50 freestyle.

"Alison had a good meet. She was definitely tired from last night's meet, but she never quit," Georgesen said.

Jimena Hernandez placed third in the 50 free, Jordan Cowan was second in the 200 IM and fourth in the 50 free, Kurtis Wagner placed third in the 200 IM and third in the 100 fly, Karmen Kendoll placed fourth in the 100 fly and third in the 500 free.

Team scores were not available.

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