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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

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CORVALLIS — The La Grande swim boys broke four state records during preliminaries at the 3A/2A/1A state swim meet Friday.

Check that. They just didn't break the records. They shattered them.

The boys went into prelims seeded No. 1 in six events, and came in first in five out of those six events.

Brenton Dowdy's swim coaches at the University of Wash-ington had to be salivating. He had an incredible day.

Dowdy broke the state meet record in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of :21.35. The old record was :21.49. Dowdy finished this short event nearly two full seconds ahead of second place.

Dowdy followed up with a state record in the 100 freestyle. He finished first with a time of :47.01, breaking his own record, set in 2003, of :47.20. Dowdy won this event by four full seconds.

The two No 1-seeded boys relay teams also set records. The boys' 200-medley team (Matt Hibbert, Josef Mielke, Dowdy and Owen Kenton) won with a time of 1:41.94, about a half-second faster than the previous state record. La Grande beat second-place Junction City by six seconds.

Now, comes the big one. The boys' 400 freestyle relay team of Hibbert, Jeremy Younggren, Owen Kenton and Dowdy set a state record with a time of 3:18.10. They broke the old record by more than three seconds and finished 13 seconds ahead of second place.

All four of these winning times are also La Grande school records.

Coach David Deming said the boys are so focused he thinks they could break three or four of these same records today.

"I think they will go faster," he said.

In other events, Hibbert came in to state seeded No. 1 in the 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke. Hibbert finished first in the 100 backstroke with a time of :55.51. He came in second in the 100 butterfly with a time of :55.94. Hibbert finished about one second behind Dominic Rieniets of Sherwood, but Hibbert swam two seconds faster at district, so he can definitely win this event.

Deming said Hibbert has a tendency to focus all of his energy on the finals, so he thinks he has an excellent shot at winning the butterfly.

Other relays and individuals moving on to finals include:

• 200 medley relay — (Amy McMahan, Robyn Mills, Valerie Butler, Kelsey Woodfield), fifth, 2:03.54.

• 200 girls freestyle relay —(Lindsay Waldrop, McMahan, Elizabeth Esser and Woodfield), sixth, 1:49.05.

• 400 girls freestyle relay — (Waldrop, McMahan, Woodfield, Esser), fourth, 4:00.39. This is a school record time.

• 200 boys individual medley — Kenton, third, 2:10.69.

• 500 boys freestyle — Kenton, fourth, 5:17.73.

• 100 boys breaststroke — Mielke, fifth, 1:08.30.

Other La Grande competitors at preliminaries included:

100 boys freestyle — Younggren, seventh, 53.25.

200 boys freestyle — Younggren, seventh, 1:58.02.

100 girls breaststroke — Mills, seventh, 1:15.92.

200 girls individual medley — Butler, ninth, 2:35.35.

500 girls freestyle — Esser, 11th, 5:57.71.

100 girls butterfly — Butler, 10th, 1:10.52.

50 girls freestyle — Woodfield, 12th, 27.76.

— Pierre LaBossire


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