Swimmers improve strokes at The Dalles Invite

It’s not every day that you feel at home even when you’re the visitor.

But that’s what happened to the HRV swim team last Saturday. Even though they were swimming in their own pool, the Eagles were technically “on the road.”

However, the Eagles’ visitor status didn’t stop them from feeling right at home, claiming fourth place in the combined standings at the annual The Dalles Invitational.

“Saturday was a real step forward for both the boys and the girls teams,” said senior Cody MacMillan, who won the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke. “It was nice to have the competition again. We’ve had a few meets cancelled, and the only way to know where you’re at is to swim against other people.”

There was plenty of competition on Saturday as 14 teams — including two from the Intermountain Conference — made the trip to Hood River.

MacMillan and the boys placed second behind Seaside High School, while the girls, led by MacMillan’s freshman sister, Aeriel, finished seventh. La Grande won the combined competition, finishing just ahead of Sherwood and Seaside.

“This was a great experience for the younger swimmers because a meet this big helps prepare them for districts,” said boys senior team captain Sean Jennings, who placed ninth in the 100 free and third in the 100 breast.

“This was our first really big meet of the year, and it was different than anything else we’ve competed in. The atmosphere was much different and the competition level was better, which is what we needed with districts only two weeks away.”

Jennings and MacMillan are focused not only on competing at district, but also competing at state. The No. 1 medley relay team, which also features senior Erik Hidle and junior Henry Burton, will be looking to improve upon last year’s 11th-place state finish.

“We’ve got a few people who can compete at state,” MacMillan said. “Especially the guys on the relay team. We’re all starting to bump it up a notch now.”

After a strong performance, the girls team is also hoping to make a splash at district. The No. 1 medley relay team of Kendra Mohar, Kelsey Hale, Joyce Yang and Aeriel MacMillan finished fifth at The Dalles Invite, and is looking to perform even better in two weeks.

“We’re just going to keep doing the same thing we’ve been doing and see how it goes at district,” said the younger MacMillan, who placed sixth in the 200 IM and third in the 100 breast.

“It really helps to have Joyce on the team because she’s been doing this for a few years. I really look up to her, and I think the other girls do as well.”

Yang, the girls team captain, also had a strong showing at The Dalles Invite, taking eighth in the 50 free and 10th in the 100 free. Hale, a sophomore butterfly specialist, finished sixth in the 100 fly and 11th in the 200 free, while Mohar placed ninth in the 100 fly and 15th in the 100 back.

Other girls results included freshman Nicole Shames, who placed 10th in the 200 IM and 13th in the 100 back; junior Elsie Denton, who placed 16th in the 100 breast and 17th in the 500 free; sophomore Danielle Mellow, who took 44th in the 50 free and 35th in the 100 free; and sophomore Elizabeth Cobarrubias, who finished 44th in the 50 free.

Additional boys varsity results included Burton, who took second in the 100 fly and third in the 200 IM; Hidle, who placed sixth in both the 50 free and 100 free; senior Daniel Chance, who took eighth in the 100 fly and 10th in the 100 back; sophomore Jess Jennings, who placed fifth in the 200 free and 16th in the 100 fly; and sophomore Chris Jennings, who took ninth in the 500 free and seventh in the 100 breast.

Also competing for the boys team on Saturday were senior Chris Fenwick, sophomores Adam Brown, Jeremy Fogle, Louis DeSitter, Spencer Johnisee and David Voigt, along with freshmen Tyler White and Tanner Hall.

“The overall feeling is that we still have some improving to do before district,” Jess Jennings said. “We just need to practice more like we did earlier in the year.”

HRV travels to Centennial on Thursday and then hosts a meet Tuesday.

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