A combintation of new and veteran Madras Swim Team members competed in a meet in Redmond.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Madras Swim Team members get ready for their races in Redmond, where 31 members competed.Thirty-one Madras Swim Team members competed in Redmond Oct. 28. Among them, some were first-time competitors and some were seasoned veterans.

As a whole, coaches Tim and Sara Nelson were very pleased. The meet was very low key, with just Redmond and Klamath Falls in attendance, Tim Nelson said, adding that such an environment is not so loud and overwhelming for rookies and younger swimmers.

"It also provided a venue where new families can witness older swimmers compete and swim at a high level, perhaps, gleaning what the future may bring for their young swimmers," he said.

The coaches noted that as the team has grown, it has been difficult to highlight the accomplishments of everyone. "Technically, coach Sara is our leader and her focus on impeccable technique showed today from newbies to experienced swimmers like Colby Anderson. Colby is grit and heart," said Tim Nelson. Colby established PRs in the 100-yard butterfly, 100 breast stroke, and 100 freestyle — each, by several seconds.

The previous weekend, 19 MST swimmers, mostly veterans, plus, first-time sibling competitors traveled to Hood River to face numerous teams from Oregon and Washington.

MST was led by a trio of Williams — Ava, Lexi, and Elli. Eight-year-old Ava lowered her own 25-yard butterfly team record en route to victory in a time of 19.41. More impressively, she easily established a new team record in the 25-yard freestyle in a time of 18.85, "stealing" the record from older sister, Lexi.

"Not many swimmers will be able to say they broke a record held by Lexi Williams," said Sara Nelson, "But little sister can."

Lexi Williams easily dominated the field in two of her signature events — 50 and 100 freestyles. Not wearing a "tech" suit, she won the 50 by 0.80 seconds (26.09), and, the 100 by 2.61 seconds (55.77 PR).

In an "off" event, Lexi crushed the MST team record in the 100 backstroke, held by former standout Aurora Gerhardt, lowering the new standard to 1:07.83 from 1:11.97.

Rounding out the sibling trio was 14-year-old Elli. Coming off Madras High School volleyball and only swimming two to three days a week, Elli established personal bests in all five events she swam. Most notable was the 100 freestyle, which she completed in a time of 56.39, finishing second. Last February, at age 13, Elli did not qualify for state in the 100, but she outswam the reigning champion who also is now 14.

Among younger swimmers at Hood River and Redmond, Juliette Garcia, Gaby Torres, Kaden Torres, Leah Affeldt, Benton Devore, and Finnley Rhodes caught the coaches' attention. According to Tim Nelson, "When you see natural ability and kids loving the sport, it is exciting. MST has a bright future."

MST's next competition is at the Madras Aquatic Center on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 12:30 p.m. Admission is free.

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