Hood River swimmers excel in mini-districts

HRV girls place a commanding first; small boys team narrowly misses second in CRC showdown

HRV SWIMMERS had a great competition against league teams last Saturday in Hood River. Above, Phillip Hecksel tears it up in the 200 IM.

Photo by Ben Mitchell
HRV SWIMMERS had a great competition against league teams last Saturday in Hood River. Above, Phillip Hecksel tears it up in the 200 IM.

If Saturday’s meet is a forecast of things to come, Columbia River Conference swimmers are going to have a difficult time hanging with the Eagles when the district championship meet is held in Hood River next month.


Sarah Wang swims to a fourth-place finish in the 200 IM.

The HRV girls swim team obliterated the competition Saturday at the Hood River Aquatic Center, in what was originally supposed to be a larger invitational, but changed into a district preview of sorts after only Hermiston, The Dalles, and Pendleton showed up to compete. The Eagles racked up 619 points — many lengths ahead of second-place finisher, the Pendleton Buckaroos, who scored 493 points. The Dalles followed up in third with 388 and Hermiston was fourth with 164.

For the boys, Hermiston scored the lion’s share of the points, tallying 471. HRV, with just seven swimmers on the team, placed third with 263 points, but nipped at the Bucks’ heels, who were a mere 14 points ahead of the Eagles. The Dalles brought up the rear with 225.

“Well done this weekend!” HRV Head Coach Kelly Cunningham told her athletes on the team’s Facebook page (Cunningham could not be reached for comment as of press time).


Adam Burke in the 200 medley relay; HRV placed first in the event. He also had top-five finishes in the 200 freestyle and the 100 backstroke events.

The boys placed first in multiple events, including the 200-yard medley relay, the 200 individual medley, the 50 freestyle, and the 100 freestyle, with impressive performances by the Hecksel brothers — Phillip and David.

The girls racked up six first-place finishes, including golds in the 200 medley relay, the 50 freestyle, the 100 butterfly, the 500 freestyle, 100 backstroke, and the 400 freestyle relay. Many athletes had great performances, but Sarah Gottschalk especially shined, having a hand in the team’s first-place relay finishes, as well as individual wins in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke.

After treading water for weeks thanks to inclement weather, the swim team will have a busy stretch ahead, having a rematch with Pendleton and The Dalles in Hood River this Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., then traveling to La Grande on Saturday. As of now, the team’s regular season schedule will come to an end Tuesday with a home dual meet against Centennial, which will start at 4:30 p.m. HRV will then host the CRC championships on Saturday, Feb. 11 and then, if things go well, will travel to Gresham for the 5A state championships the following weekend.

HRV boys top five results

200 medley relay: Adam Burke, David Hecksel, Andrew Rinella, Phillip Hecksel (1st, 1:57.94)

200 freestyle: Burke (5th, 2:18.62)

200 IM: P. Hecksel (1st, 2:13.63); Clayton Lee (3rd, 2:33.12)

50 freestyle: D. Hecksel (1st, 24.55)

100 butterfly: Rinella (3rd, 1:03.87)

100 freestyle: P. Hecksel (1st, 51.97); Lee (5th, 59.97)

100 backstroke: Rinella (3rd, 1:07.49); Burke (4th, 1:09.66)


SARAH GOTTSCHALK (left) takes a breather after finishing an event during Saturday’s invitational in Hood River. Gottschalk placed first in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke events individually while helping lead the girls to wins in the relays.

100 breaststroke: D. Hecksel (2nd, 1:14.08)

400 freestyle relay: D. Hecksel, Rinella, Tyson Miller, P. Hecksel (3rd, 3:47.31)

Girls top five results

200-yard medley relay: Sarah Gottschalk, Yasmeen Ziada, Courtney Castaneda, Allison Burke (1st place, 2 minutes, 8.05 seconds); Alea McCartly, Mackenzie Booth, Lillie Tomlinson, Amber Kennedy (3rd, 2:21.22)

200 freestyle: Kennedy (2nd, 2:39.06); Booth (3rd, 2:49.90)

200 individual medley: Tomlinson (3rd, 2:44.12); Sarah Wang (4th, 3:02.78)

50 freestyle: Gottschalk (1st, 25.50); Castaneda (4th, 28.90); Celilo Brun (5th, 29.22)

100 butterfly: Ziada (1st, 1:08.12)

100 freestyle: Castaneda (2nd, 1:02.01); Wang (5th, 1:12.94)

500 freestyle: Burke (1st, 5:49.72)

200 freestyle relay: Brun, Wang, Ziada, Tomlinson (3rd, 2:01.74)

100 backstroke: Gottschalk (1st, 1:01.49); Tomlinson (3rd, 1:14.27); McCartly (4th, 1:16.34)

100 breaststroke: Brun (3rd, 1:19.97); Ziada (5th, 1:23.00)

400 freestyle relay: Castaneda, Burke, Brun, Gottschalk (1st, 4:06.72); Kennedy, Reegan Tweten, Booth, McCartly (3rd, 4:41.75)

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