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Indian swimmers have started the year out on fire, hope to continue improvement

COURTESY PHOTO: DAVE RICHMOND - The Scappoose swimming teams have started the season strong with great showings at select invitationals.

At the Scappoose swimming program's end of the year banquet last season, the Indians thanked their seniors, showered them with praise and then naturally turned the page to the year ahead.

As the Indians looked around the room and accounted for all the slated returning swimmers both on the girls' and boys' sides, the realization became crystal clear. Scappoose could be good. Really good. Though the Indians are in their relative infancy as Class 5A competing school, there was no doubt a big year was in the cards. When the preseason ramped up and training escalated, Scappoose was up for the task. When realistic postseason carrots such as district titles and state meet appearances are out there to chase, athletes tend to take off.

This is a goal-driven squad with huge dreams hunting after big game. Early in the year, Scappoose is already tasting sweet success. The Indians made some school history right off the bat winning both the boys and girls team championships at the Tillamook Invitational for the first time ever. Scappoose dominated from start to finish and swam well throughout the day, tallying 35 personal records in the process. Then, at the River City Invitational on Dec. 13, the boys took home top honors and the girls finished third just behind The Dalles and Blanchet Catholic.

COURTESY PHOTO: DAVE RICHMOND - The Scappoose boys swimming team is considered one of the top squads in the NWOC district. "The energy and desire of the kids have really pleased me," Scappoose head coach Dave Richmond said. "We have a great thing going right now. Our boys have been very successful for three straight years and our girls are on the cusp of being a really great team again and while we've been good, we haven't been where we think we should have been the last handful of years. I'm not sure how good in comparison to all the teams in the conference this year, but we'll give every team we see a run for it if we bring the effort. We have a lot of talent. We knew this could be a big year and they are stepping up preparing for it."

Freshmen Emma Jeppesen and Colin Stafford shined for the Indians in their events at the Tillamook Invite and have already had a big impact for the team according to Richmond. Will Blair, Nash Wilson, Cadmen Posvar, Bryant Sharp, and Brisyn Maller had big days on the boys' side, while team captain Kelsey Ela as well as Amanda Walsh, Anna Cox, and Mara Wilson had a strong day for the girls.

At the River City Invitational, the Scappoose boys set the tone in the first event setting the meet record six seconds and shattering the school record by three seconds. Wilson, Reynolds, Blair, and Sharp all had personal best legs. Blair set the meet record for the third consecutive year in the 50 free.

"Our boys have taken home the team title four years in a row and we want to keep that going as long as possible," Richmond said.

Blair set his sixth school record in the 100 butterfly in the race of the day against St. Helens star Ryan Maher. While Blair was edged out in the race, he swam a four-second personal best.

"He is primed for a really big year this year," Richmond said of Blair. "He needs to build up more endurance, but he's way ahead of schedule."

The Indians also had wins in many other events including all boys' relays. Blair, Wilson, Posvar, and Sharp swam the 200. Maller, Posvar, Owen Reynolds, and Colin Stafford anchored the meet in the 400 relay and won going away.

The girls came up with a big third-place finish at the RCI without a few key girls out for various reasons. Richmond said Scappoose "would have been right there" for second place and pushed Blanchet for the team title. Rachel Lauridsen, Emma Hinsvark, Kelsey Ela, and Amanda Walsh had big meets again.

"The girls' team is much improved from last year with many of the girls aging up and getting stronger," Richmond said. "We were just not quite ready to compete at a high level last year, but we gained great experience and with all of the returners and talented newcomers we are ready this year to make some noise."

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