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HRV junior Luke Southall, senior David Hecksel, senior Clayton Lee, Connor McElwee and head coach Shelly Rawding at state championships in Tualatin Saturday, Feb. 22.

The Hood River Valley swim teams wrapped up their incredibly successful 2019-2020 season with strong showing at OSAA 5A Swimming State Championships in Tualatin Feb. 21-22.

Members for the girls’ team were sophomore Sarah Arpag, junior Chloe Bullock, senior Celilo Brun, junior Madaket Greenleaf, junior Abby McCormack, senior Faith Ocheskey, freshman Emma Titus and senior Lillie Tomlinson. On the boys‘ side were freshman Gavin Hackett, senior David Hecksel, senior Clayton Lee, senior Connor McElwee and junior Luke Southall.

Friday brought 70 percent personal best times and lots of qualifying swims for Saturday. The day began with the girls 200 medley relay of Arpag, Brun, Greenleaf and Ocheskey. They swam a season best by over a second for eight place at 2:00.14.

Greenleaf swam the 200 freestyle and unfortunately was called for a false start. Her time would have been over a second faster than her district time drop. Southall also swam the 200 freestyle and finished 11th and matched his personal best. Ocheskey placed 11th in the 50 freestyle at 26.28 while Hecksel snuck into finals in the 50 freestyle with a 22.50.

The 100 flyers had a good day. Arpag dropped a 58.00 for a top seed, and Lee finished 10th at 55.94. Hackett took 11th with a 58.83. Ocheskey was less than a tenth of a second from the finals with a 57.43. Southall dropped nearly a second and snuck into the sixth spot of finals with a 50.37.

Our girls 200 freestyle relay of McCormack, Bullock, Titus and Tomlinson dropped nearly two seconds for a fifth-place seed in finals. The boys relay of Lee, McElwee, Hecksel and Southall dropped a second-and-a-half from districts and went into finals as second seed.

For the backstrokers, Arpag swam a 1:00.48 to get into finals, while Hecksel was right on his best time with a 56.97.

McCormack was 11th in state in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:17.89. Ocheskey, Brun, Tomlinson and Arpag combined for a four-second drop from their district swim for a chance to swim on Saturday’s finals. The boys swam a five-second time-drop and entered as fourth in finals.

Saturday’s competitions started with a bang, with Hecksel going from sixth to third in the 50 freestyle with half-a-second drop and a 21.88 time. The next podium swim was Arpag with a 58.11 in the 100 butterfly, taking second place. She swam two seconds faster than third place and on her personal best time she swam Friday. Southall swam a solid 100 freestyle for sixth place, a tenth of a second shy of his best time he set on Friday.

The exciting relays continued with Hood River having a spot in the next four. McCormack, Bullock, Titus and Tomlinson moved up to fourth place in the 200 freestyle. Lee, McElwee, Southall and Hecksel dropped another second from their prelim swim the day before and finished ahead of West Albany by two hundredths-of-a-second for a spot on the top of the podium. They finished with a time of 1:29.61.

Arpag was in the next heat in the 100 backstroke. She finished with a personal best of 1:00.20 and a bronze medal. Hecksel dropped another second from prelims and took silver with a time of 55.90.

The 400 relay team of Ocheskey, Brun, Tomlinson and Arpag dropped another second from prelims and finished fourth. They added to the team score for a sixth place in state. The boys relay of Lee, McElwee, Hecksel and Southall had an exciting race and gave it their all for a four-second drop from their prelims time.

Unfortunately, they were called for a false start and didn’t place.

The effort and racing that they all did showed that when under pressure you can achieve great things. All four boys did an awesome job representing HRV at state as they finished in fifth place in team standings.

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