By ADAM LAPIERRE
News staff writer
February 18, 2006
The state swim meet is Oregon’s big show, featuring the fastest high school swimmers from each conference. Corvallis’ Osborn Aquatic Center will be packed in and action packed this weekend, starting with yesterday’s preliminary rounds and ending tonight with the 4A finals.
Five Hood River Valley Eagles qualified for state. The 200 yard freestyle relay team of Peter Debbaut, Cory Coxen, Henry Hunt and Zed Debbaut took the district title last week to advance. And individually, Zed Debbaut qualified for the 100 breaststroke by winning district title, and for the 50 yard freestyle by beating the automatic state qualifying time. The fifth swimmer is Kory Harding, who is the alternate for the relay team.
In their last practice before heading down the valley, the boys trained light and worked on their starts off the block. Then they answered some questions for the Hood River News.
How do you feel about making it to state?
Coxen: “It is a great honor to represent my school and my town.”
Z. Debbaut: “In the past, I always considered state unachievable, like only immortals went. Needless to say, I’m most definitely psyched.”
Harding: “I am really excited because most of us are only in 10th grade. We still have two more years after this.”
P. Debbaut: “I feel really surprised. It feels awesome that I made it.”
Hunt: “Making it is awesome. Beating Summit was completely unexpected.”
What was the hardest part about preparing for districts?
Coxen: “I think it was dealing with the pressure and making that pressure push you to do well.”
Z. Debbaut: “The hardest part was taking things seriously and maintaining a good work ethic.”
Harding: “The first practice of the week. We had to build a good base that we could taper from.”
P. Debbaut: “Knowing how to balance your body so that you have a lot of energy and you aren’t sore.”
Hunt: “I did a lot of butterfly during the week leading up to districts.”
Standing on the starting block in the district finals, what was going through your mind? What do you try to think about?
Coxen: “I think about my breathing pattern, my kick, my turns and everything that goes on in a race.”
Z. Debbaut: “I felt extremely relaxed. I was trying to think about nothing, while remembering to breathe.”
Harding: “Noting, except that I had never been more prepared for a meet.”
P. Debbaut: “I was thinking that we had better do good and that I had better get my best time. But I wasn’t thinking about winning; I try not to think about my goal line.”
Hunt: “Before each race I try to clear my mind of everything except the race I’m about to swim.”
At state, what will be your “game plan”?
Coxen: “At districts I did not drop below a 24-second time. I hope to get at least a 23.5 at state.”
Z. Debbaut: “To stay relaxed and enjoy myself. It’s fairly easy to psych yourself out in big competitions like that.”
Harding: “Give as much support as I can to the relay team.”
P. Debbaut: “Mainly to get experience and to see how fast other guys are.”
Hunt: “We’re a young team and we expect to be back at state next season so we will be trying to get some experience.”
Describe a memorable moment this season.
Coxen: “In our dual against Centennial, I swam a 53 second hundred, and I can’t explain how good that felt.”
Z. Debbaut: “My most memorable moment was winning the 100 breaststroke at districts. My opponent and I were neck and neck the whole way.
Harding: “When Mike (Pendleton) told us that we had done 5,000 meters in an hour and a half practice.”
P. Debbaut: “When we won the 200 freestyle, when Zed won the 100 breast and when we beat Summit at districts.”
Hunt: “When we beat Summit for the district title.”
How do you think going to state will affect your swimming after this weekend?
Coxen: “It will drive me to swim harder so I can go back.”
Z. Debbaut: “It will be the end of easy practices and tapering. After state, it’s back to the full workouts and a lot of hard swimming.”
Harding: “Going will only make us more prepared for next season.”
P. Debbaut: “After seeing all those fast guys, I will definitely work harder and set goals to beat them.”
Hunt: “I am hoping it will help me get over my fear of drowning.”
What are your plans after state?
Coxen: “Swimming is the one sport I truly enjoy. After state, I will join the Hood River Ospreys Swim Team.”
Z. Debbaut: “To keep swimming for the most part. I’m really looking forward to the summer.”
Harding: “I plan to take a break, then start swimming again.”
P. Debbaut: “I’m going to play lacrosse and swim in the mornings.”
Hunt: “I’m stoked about lacrosse. After that ends, I’ll go back to swimming.”
Anyone to thank?
Coxen: “Of course my coaches, Jane Nichols and Mike Pendleton.”
Z. Debbaut: “Thanks to my parents for feeding me daily and thanks to my coaches for their support and their berry pie.”
Harding: “My mom, my dad and my sister.”
P. Debbaut: “I’d like to thank my coaches, Shelly, Jane and Mike, my friends for cheering me on and my parents, who really encouraged me to just go out there and swim.”
Hunt: “Thanks to my coaches, Mike and Jane, and to my family.”