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The Observer Paper 12/17/14

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Joe Sova

Sports Editor

GRESHAM – Jeremy Young-gren held nothing back in the finals of the 200-yard freestyle at the OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires Swimming State Championships Saturday morning at the Mt. Hood Community College Aquatic Center.

The La Grande senior went into the finals after earning fifth in Friday's preliminaries with a time of 1:56.51. Younggren went out strong and stayed that way, touching the wall in third place – chopping more than two seconds from his previous personal best of 1:56.80. His finals time was 1:54.70.

"I knew if I wanted to get a good swim I'd have to be in the 55's," Younggren said after the race. "The last 100 yards I just died."

But he saw he was in third place with a length of the pool to go, and he gave it all he had.

"I was dead. I left it all in the pool," Younggren said.

"He went after it," LHS Athletic Director and acting coach Jim Martin said. "He was impressive. He had a real solid day."

The Tiger knew he needed a time in the 50-second range to finish as high as third in the 100 freestyle about an hour later. Younggren, who has a time of 51.87 in the prelims, swam a 52.03 in the finals – setting for fifth place, his seed from the preliminaries.

LHS junior Robyn Mills was fifth in the prelims of the 100 breaststroke Friday with a 1:14.41. She slipped a little in the finals, swimming a 1:16 flat for sixth place.

"Robyn had the opportunity to compete in the state finals and she did," Martin said. "The nice thing is that she has another year. She will use this experience to set herself up for next year."

The Tiger girls' 200 medley relay was fifth in the prelims (2:05.98), and cut a half-second in the finals – teaming for a 2:05.42 to finish fifth.

Seniors Amy McMahan, Laura Martin and Kelsey Woodfield, and Mills swam the legs of the race.

"They did what they needed to do to get back up," Jim Martin said. "Their splits were better. Unfortunately they were a little nicked up. They should be proud of what they accomplished."

By that Martin meant that two of the four girls on the relay have been ill.

Sherwood won both the 3A boys and girls state championships. The Bowmen boys won by 31 points over runner-up Newport. The Sherwood girls finished four points ahead of North Bend to take that division. The La Grande girls tied for 13th place, and the young Tiger boys – the defending state champions – were 15th.

Jim Martin said none of the four seniors who swam at state had any swim experience before they were freshmen.

"They worked hard," Martin said the LHS swimmers who competed at the state meet. "It was a great experience for the younger kids .... They represented our high school to the best of their ability. For the younger kids it's a building block for next year."


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