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La Grande Observer Daily paper 10/24/14

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Senior swimming sendoff

La Grande freshman Tony Clay took first in the 200 individual medley at the Tigers’ final home meet of the season Saturday. As a team, La Grande finished second to Pendleton. (Chris Baxter photo)
La Grande freshman Tony Clay took first in the 200 individual medley at the Tigers’ final home meet of the season Saturday. As a team, La Grande finished second to Pendleton. (Chris Baxter photo)
La Grande smashes records, sends off seniors at home meet 

While the La Grande swimming team skipped the formalities of sending off the seniors, at least for one more week, there was still something to see at the final home meet of the season Saturday.

“It was a fantastic meet,” La Grande head coach Darren Dutto said. “All of our swimmers swam really well. “Hannah (Roberts) had an outstanding meet, setting one meet record. Bryce (Ebel) had some nice swims. I look forward to see how he performs at districts in three weeks. Abbey (Felley) looked solid and was just off her best times. 

“It was a great team effort.”

The Tigers finished second to Pendleton in the boys and girls events. But La Grande came in first in smashing meet records.

Senior Becca Haynes contributed to four records falling, although she would be beat out by a teammate on the same day in one event.

“I didn’t really think about it being my last home meet,” Haynes said. “I didn’t want those emotions to take over.”

Haynes set individual records in the 100 backstroke and the 200 freestyle. She finished with a time of 2:06.80 in the 200 freestyle, beating the previous mark of 2:07.65. Haynes finished the 100 backstroke in a time of 1:05.17, but Hannah took the record away with a swim of 1:03.08 in the following heat. 

“It’s crazy that we’re swimming so well because we haven’t started tapering off yet,” Haynes said. “We are still working hard, but it’s nice to see that we are getting stronger.”

Then the “BASH” team got together to break a couple records together. Becca, Abbey, Shelby (Baker) and Hannah broke the previous marks in the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay. The medley relay record had lasted for eight years before the girls clocked a time of 2:00.95. The previous record was 2:20.59. The girls swam the 400 free in 3:57.42, beating the record of 3:59.85.

“I just think we mesh together really well,” Haynes said. “We’ve been swimming together for a long time.

“These performances are going to help us. Plus, we know that we’ll be tapering soon. That should give us some extra energy to maybe break some more school records.”

Haynes said that the 200 medley team had its sights set on the school record of 1:59.

Felley also took first in the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle. Roberts won the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. 

Bryce Ebel didn’t let the girls have all the fun. He broke a record in the 100 butterfly that was set in 2003. Ebel clocked a time of 53.84, beating the old record of 55.93.

Ebel also won the 50 freestyle. Keegan Dutto claimed the other first-place finish for the Tigers in the 500 freestyle.

The Tigers will host the formal senior activities at a meet in Baker City Saturday. Seniors Lian Neeley and Tommy Yang missed the meet Saturday due to a band activity. 

Contact Paul Harder at 541-975-3342 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Paul on Twitter @lgoHarder.

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