Tigard's Whitehead has record-breaking start
TIGARD — Nathaniel Whitehead was hoping to get off to a good start to the season.
Well, the Tigard High School junior did better than that — he got off to a record-breaking start to the season.
Whitehead, in the Tigard swim teams' season-opening Three Rivers League dual meet with Lakeridge on Dec. 12, set a new Tigard Swim Center pool record with his winning time of 53.60 in the 100-yard backstroke event.
"That means so much," Whitehead said of the record. "All of the training I've put in recently, and all of that hard work paying off means a lot to me."
The Tigard boys team, filled this year with young swimmers, fell 121-49 to the strong Lakeridge squad in last week's league opener. Still, the Tigers seemed to show plenty of promise with their performance.
"We've got 20 guys, somehow," Whitehead said with a smile. "I don't know where the other 14 or 15 came from, but they just showed up, and that's awesome."
Whitehead, in setting his new Tigard pool record, was pushed from start to finish by Lakeridge's Aaron Tran in the backstroke event.
"The 100 back, oh, that was a close race," Whitehead said. "Aaron Tran, from Lakeridge, he pushed me really hard, and I was trying to keep up with him."
Whitehead won in 53.60, besting the old pool record of 53.86. Tran was second with a mark of 53.81.
In addition to his record-setting swim in the 100 backstroke, Whitehead also finished in second place in the 200 individual medley with a time of 1:57.74.
"It went a lot better than I thought it would,"Whitehead said of the first meet of the high school season. "I was surprised by both of my swims, because the 200 IM was right on my best, somehow. I don't what happened there."
Whitehead is hoping the strong start to the season leads to more milestones in the 2019-20 season.
"I hopefully can break the school record, get there, or farther," he said. "This was so much fun. I've been waiting for this forever."
The Tigard school record for the 100 backstroke is 52.54, set by Mark Thompson in 1988.
Also for the Tigard boys at last week's meet, junior Jaden Nguyen picked up a victory in the 500 freestyle with a mark of 5:19.97.
Whitehead and Nguyen also teamed with sophomores Noah Vu and Joseph Oldham to finish second in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:38.05. In the 200 medley relay, the Tiger team of Whitehead, Nguyen, sophomore Ryan Bell and Vu was second in 1:49.45.
The Tigard girls were edged 89-80 by the Pacers in the league opener.
Tigard junior Paige Colligan was a three-time winner at the meet. Colligan triumphed in the 500 freestyle in a time of 5:52.34. She also took first place in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:17.58.
In the 400 freestyle relay, Colligan teamed with sophomore Abbigale Elliott, sophomore Kate Houston and junior Caileigh Flowers to pick up a win in 4:08.64.
Elliott also was victorious in the 200 individual medley in 2:24.01. She also was second in the 100 butterfly in 1:03.90.
Tigard's Shannon Liang won the 100 freestyle with a mark of 58.45. Liang also took first in the 100 backstroke in 1:08.84.
The Tiger teams will be back in action on Thursday, when they face Canby in a Three Rivers League dual meet starting at 4 p.m. at the Canby Swim Center.
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