HOOD RIVER — The HRV swim teams both put together strong outings Saturday to win The Dalles Invitational combined title at the HR Aquatic Center.
The boys team finished second to LaGrande in the overall standings, while the girls finished behind Seaside and Pendleton high schools to take third place. Because LaGrande’s girls team finished in fifth, HRV overtook them to win the combined title.
“Winning the combined title counts for a lot because our team works so well together,” coach Kass Bergstrom said. “The kids feed off one another and really help each other pull through the tough races.”
Bergstrom said The Dalles Invitational had much the same feel as a district or state meet — 13 schools in all — and it was important for the swimmers to experience a meet of this magnitude to prepare them for the pressure of the big meets next month.
“The kids couldn’t help but get psyched up for this meet,” she said. “I hope they can hang onto that feeling and use it to their advantage in a few weeks.”
Top individual performances for HRV were Caitlyn Shortt, who won the 200 free by almost nine seconds; Oliver Burton, who won the 100 fly with his fastest in-season time of 54.75 seconds; Rachel Culpepper, who chopped two seconds off her personal best to take second in the 100 breast; Sean Jennings, who dropped four seconds off his 200 free time to finish fourth; and Cody MacMillan, who out-touched Owen Kenton of LaGrande by three-hundredths of a second to take second place in the boys 200 IM.
Other notable HRV finishes included Kelsey Shortt taking third in the 100 back, Henry Burton finishing third in the 100 fly, and both 200 medley relay teams placing in the top three — girls second, boys third.