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Jones steps up to win the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races in record-setting times.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Wilsonville junior Helena Jones smiles after winning the 50-yard freestyle at the Class 5A state swim meet at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center on Friday, Feb. 18.The competition was intense, the field was deep and the pool was fast at the Class 5A state swim meet.

The 5A meet — held Friday, Feb. 18, at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center — also provided a perfect stage for Wilsonville swimmer Helena Jones to show off her massive talent.

Jones, a junior who previously won Northwest Oregon Conference titles in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races, came back even faster on Friday at Tualatin Hills.

She started her day by helping the Wildcats finish sixth in the 200-yard medley relay, teaming with senior Caitlyn Jew, freshman Gabrielle Maoz and senior Riley Lawler for a finishing time of 2 minutes, 00.75 seconds.

Then Jones really hit the accelerator.

In the 50 freestyle, Jones blasted the field to win by almost two seconds at 22.96. In the process, she set a new 5A state meet record, erasing the previous mark of 23.26 set in 2010 by Willamette's Kaila Lee.

"I just went hard. Anything under 23 (seconds) was going to be good," Jones said. "I knew it was going to be a good race so I'm going 'I need to go faster. I need to go faster.' That's where my mind was at, even coming off the wall and at the start. It was good. It was just like 'go.' That was basically it. It was pretty cool."

But Jones wasn't done — far from it.

She came back two races later to duplicate her earlier success, this time racing to victory in the 100 free with a winning time of 49.83. That time gave her a cushion of almost four seconds over the event runner-up and also gave Jones her second Class 5A meet record. This time, she eclipsed the previous mark of 51.33 set back in 2009 by Willamette's Lee.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Wilsonville junior Helena Jones (second from left) launches into the 50-yard freestyle at the Class 5A state swim meet at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center on Friday, Feb. 18.

"They're completely different (races)," Jones said of the 50 and 100. "I (was) definitely going for the record and that's basically it."

In the girls team race, Churchill took top honors with 60 points, while Crescent Valley placed second at 55 and Redmond third at 44. Wilsonville finished seventh with 16 points and La Salle tied for 11th with six points.

The Falcons' highlights came with fifth-place finishes in the 200 freestyle relay and 100 backstroke. In the relay, freshman Caitlin Keeler, sophomore Rachel Yaskovic, sophomore Gabrielle Wolfe and freshman Kayla Chapman grabbed fifth at 1:47.95.

And in the 100 back, Chapman raced to fifth place with a mark of 1:00.98.

Boys meet

In the boys team race, Crescent Valley took first with 65 points, while West Albany placed second at 61 and Redmond third at 34. Wilsonville's boys finished 10th with 10 points.

Highlights for the Wildcats came from their relay teams and sophomore Max Buchwald. Buchwald stepped up for a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke at 53.89.

In the 200 free relay, senior Jay Thomas, junior Theo Buchwald, junior George Heilig and Max Buchwald placed fifth at 1:35.42. And in the 200 medley relay, the Cats saw Max Buchwald, sophomore Steve Khamvongsa, Heilig and Thomas finish sixth at 1:48.55.

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