Scappoose swim starts season with high turnout
Scappoose's swim team is back in the pool less than five months after ending last season.
The team has grown this year, after low turnout in the short season last school year.
With 11 boys and 22 girls, the Indians are in the middle of the Northwest Oregon Conference.Â
On the boys side, the team only has one senior.
"A lot of new fellows, but we have a few with some potential and we had a freshman come up that's going to be very helpful for us, too," longtime coach David Richmond said.
"I think things are definitely getting even brighter for the boys as we get to next year."
Last school year, the Indians only had dual meets until the last-minute district meet.Â
This year, the team is back to larger meets, having started the season with an eight-team meet at the Nygaard Invitational in Astoria, where Scappoose placed fourth among boys and third among girls.
Richmond said the larger meets will make for a "drastically different season."
He predicted, "The kids are going to have their eyes opened pretty wide this year."
Richmond said that in most recent years, Scappoose's boys team was larger and stronger than the girls team. But for most of Richmond's 17 years with the team, "our girls team has been the bigger team and the stronger team overall."
The girls team won the district meet last year, a first since moving up to the 5A classification.
While the boys team graduated star swimmer Will Blair last year, the girls team still has two more years with their star swimmer, Emma Jeppesen.
Jeppesen was named swimmer of the year at districts as a sophomore last season, where she also took first in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. Jeppesen took first in the girls 200-yard individual medley at a Dec. 4 meet.
On the boys side, senior Aiden Becker, freshman Matthew Virosteck and junior captain Colin Stafford "are our three pretty dynamic swimmers that can swim everything," Richmond said.
He added, "They're pretty quick and can be very competitive."
Stafford took first in the boys 200-yard freestyle at a Dec. 4 meet in Astoria.Â
Other standouts this year include sophomore Keely Mahaffy, who anchors the medley relay for the team; senior co-captain Anna Cox; senior backstroker and freestyler Mara Wilson; and co-captain Jenna Seagondollar.
Seagondollar "provides great leadership and is all-around a good swimmer, so she can kind of do every stroke well. We're hoping to see a lot of points from her again this year," Richmond said.
The large turnout on the girls side is close to numbers from the early 2010s, Richmond said.
Out of the 22 girls, Richmond estimated half are already able to swim every event.
"Pretty soon I think they'll be able to swim every event at a meet, (including) some of the more difficult events like the IM (individual medley), the 500, the butterfly," Richmond added. "We'll have a lot of options to choose from, which will be exciting."
"The kids that came out last year and got the six weeks in on the short season … came back looking really polished compared to last year," Richmond said.
Scappoose swimmers are "looking really solid for having a half season last year," the coach remarked.Â
"I like the fact that we're pretty versatile, too," said Richmond. "So we have a lot of girls that can swim a lot of strokes. And some of the more difficult events or less popular events, so we can spread out pretty evenly across the events, which I think can benefit us."
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the Scappoose team's ranking at the Nygaard Invitational. The boys team placed fourth and the girls team placed third.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.