"That was exciting," Prineville Swim Team head coach Halley Estes said when she heard that Prineville had won the Cascade East District Swimming Championships. "It was a real close race between John Day and Prineville the whole meet, and the kids swam their hearts out and did awesome."
The Lakeview Swim Team won the girls portion of the meet, which was held Friday through Sunday in Prineville, compiling 423.5 points, while Prineville was second with 368.5 points.
John Day Swim Team won the boys competition with 440 points, while Prineville was once again second, this time with 410 points.
It was the balance that Prineville showed, scoring well in both boys and girls competition as well as across all age groups, that made the difference as Prineville pulled away late in the meet to win the combined championship.
The Prineville Swim Team amassed 778.5 points to win their first district championship in four years. John Day was second with 673 points, while Lakeview finished in third with 577.5 points.
It was the first time all season that the Prineville team had beaten both John Day and Lakeview in the same competition.
Several Prineville Swim Team members indicated that having the meet at home was a huge advantage.
"It was great," said Emma Hehn, who finished second in four races in the girls 15 and over division. "It was so much better than having to travel all the time. Being able to go home and sleep in my own bed was good."
Teagan Freeman, who swam in the 13-14-year-old category, agreed.
"I really liked being at home a lot better because then I could actually go get some sleep early enough," she said. "I feel like it went really well this year and we tried our best."
Paige Wood and Wyatt King set the tone for Prineville Friday afternoon.
Wood, who went on to win four events and finish second in two more, swam to a second-place finish in the first race of the night, the 200 meter freestyle, with a time of 4:32.88.
Teammate Hayden Decker finished fourth with a time of 5:24.37, while Gretchen Fewell, also of Prineville, was fifth in 5:32.27.
Wood went on to be the high-point winner in her age group, winning the 50 freestyle (53.52), 25 breaststroke (30.23), 25 backstroke (26.44) and 100 individual medley (2:17.67) over the course of the three days, while also finishing second in the 25 freestyle (23.60).
Although he won just one individual event, Wyatt King looked strong in the boys 8U 200 freestyle, taking first with a time of 4:13.15. Teammate Luke Grogan, who was the high-point winner for the age group, was fourth with a time of 4:42.97.
Prineville also picked up a big win from Emma Holliday on Friday evening as she took first in the girls 11-12 200 freestyle with a time of 3:20.07. Teammate Mckenzie Jonas finished second with a time of 3:26.35, while Gabriela Wood was fifth in 3:56.58.
Also scoring big points on Friday were Freeman, who won the girls 13-14 200 freestyle (2:46.28), and Hehn, who was second in the girls 15 and over 200 freestyle (2:41.54).
In the final race of Friday night, Prineville picked up even more points as Bailey Parrott led a one-two-three sweep of the boys 15 and over 200 freestyle.
Parrott, who won all six of his individual races, swam away from the field with a time of 2:18.38. Teammate Colin White was second in 2:34.77, while Garrett McMichael was third in 2:38.21. Emilio Todd also picked up points for the home team, placing fifth with a time of 2:39.75.
Parrott was not only the age group high-point winner, he shared the Bogart award, given to swimmers with a perfect score, along with Quentin Hallgarth, of John Day.
Lakeview's Alex Conley was the girls winner of the award.
Although John Day still led after the first night, the high places from Prineville team members kept them in striking distance.
Saturday, the Prineville Swim Team kept up their strong showing.
Grogan finished second in the 50 freestyle with a time of 50.75 before Jace Jonas finished second in the boys 9-10 100 freestyle in 1:39.78.
Holliday had a strong second-place finish in the girls 11-12 100 freestyle, taking second in 1:27.29, while Mckenzie Jonas was third in 1:37.86.
Hehn picked up her second second-place finish in the 15 and over 100 freestyle with a time of 1:12.16, before Parrott led a Prineville sweep in the boys 15 and over 100 freestyle. Parrott's time of 1:01.21 was more than five seconds faster than second-place White (1:07.47). Noah Todd finished third in 1:07.57.
Prineville also picked up big points as Wood was followed to the finish line in the 25 breaststroke by Mia Levesque, who was second in 32.86.
Corley Holliday picked up her only first place of the meet in the girls 9-10 50 breaststroke as she won with a time of 57.78.
Jace Jonas then picked up his lone win with a 54.95 clocking in the boys 9-10 50 breaststroke.
Mckenzie Jonas finished second in the girls 11-12 50 breaststroke, while Maison Bell won the boys 11-12 race with a time of 52.08.
Hehn was solid as usual, taking second in the 15 and over girls 100 breaststroke race with a time of 1:33.04.
McMichael picked up a first in the boys 15 and over race with a time of 1:23.29, while White was second in 1:34.97.
Prineville also picked up a trio of firsts on Saturday in the backstroke races as Wood won the 8U 25 backstroke, Grogan won the boys 8U 25 backstroke (29.20), and Parrott won the boys 15 and over 100 backstroke race in 1:13.61.
Cameron Carr picked up a second in the boys 11-12 50 backstroke (48.57), Hehn was second in the girls 100 backstroke (1:28.57), and McMichael was second in the boys 15 and over 100 backstroke (1:23.15).
The Prineville Swim Team also picked up some valuable points Saturday in the medley relay races as they pulled out to a slim 15-point lead at the end of day two.
Prineville was the lone team to finish either the boys or girls 8U medley relay races. In the girls race, Levesque, Wood, Lilly Amen and Decker won with a time of 2:13.99, while Madilyn Bell, Fewell, Ellie Grogan and Ilsa Ptomey were second in 2:32.54.
In the boys race, Jimmie Fewell, Grogan, King and Brady Hugie won with a time of 2:27.50.
Prineville also picked up a win in the girls 12U 200 medley relay as Keera Morgan, Mckenzie Jonas, Emma Holliday and Gabriela Wood won with a time of 3:25.40, while Grace Brooks, Rylee Sakraida, Freeman and Anina Wilber won the girls 13-14 200 medley relay with a time of 3:16.69.
Prineville also easily won the boys 18U 200 medley relay as White, McMichael, Noah Todd and Emilio Todd won with a time of 2:22.64.
Prineville also picked up a pair of seconds in the boys relays as Barker Riddley, Jace Jonas, Duke Wentzel and Caleb Decker finished with a time of 1:48.01 in the boys 10U 100 medley relay, while Birch Barker, Bell, Dayten Wickersheim and Carr were second in the 12U 200 medley relay in a time of 3:32.25.
Prineville continued their strong swimming on Sunday as they gradually pulled away for the team title.
Amen started things off Sunday with a win in the girls 8U 25 butterfly with a time of 30.38. Grogan then won the boys 8U race in 29.09.
Emma Holliday then picked up a second in the girls 11-12 50 butterfly with a time of 51.05, before Bell finished third in the boys 11-12 race with a time of 51.00.
Parrott then won the boys 15 and over 100 butterfly in 1:17.25 while Emilio Todd was second in 1:18.66, White was fourth in 1:21.66, McMichael was fifth in 1:25.06, and Noah Todd was sixth with a time of 1:29.12.
Grogan picked up another win as he took first in the boys 8U 25 freestyle in 22.51, while Hugie was third in 23.51, and Owen Mickle was fifth in 32.87.
Wentzel was second in the boys 9-10 50 freestyle (43.77) while Emma Holliday was second in the girls 11-12 50 freestyle (41.58).
Parrott won another race as he took first in the boys 15 and over 50 freestyle with a time of 27.68, while Emilio Todd was second in 29.84.
Jace Jonas picked up another second-place finish in the boys 9-10 100 individual medley with a time of 2:08.20, while Emma Holliday was second in the girls 11-12 100 individual medley with a time of 1:49.81.
Bell earned his second individual win with a time of 1:45.28 in the boys 11-12 100 individual medley, while Freeman was second in the girls 13-14 200 individual medley with a time of 3:15.93.
Parrott won his final race of the meet as he raced past the field in the boys 15 and over 200 individual medley with a time of 2:47.15, while McMichael was second in 2:57.21, and Noah Todd was fourth in 3:13.95.
Prineville then closed out the meet with several relay wins.
First, the 8U girls finished second and third in the 100 freestyle relay as Amen, Fewell, Levesque and Wood won with a time of 1:50.63 while Bell, Ptomey, Grogan and Decker were third in 2:17.84.
Then Hugie, Fewell, Mickle and Grogan won the boys 8U race with a time of 2:04.84.
Prineville also picked up big wins in the girls 12U 200-freestyle relay as Emma Holliday, Gabriela Wood, Morgan and Jonas won with a time of 2:56.49. The team went one-two in the girls 14U 200 freestyle relay as Sakraida, Carr, Grace Brooks and Freeman won in 2:34.47, while Anina Wilber, Abbigail Chaney, Ariel Wilber and Taryn Templeton were second in 4:24.42.
Prineville then closed out the meet as Noah Todd, McMichael, White and Emilio Todd edged a team from John Day in the boys 18U 200 freestyle relay with a time of 2:02.62.
"That was a great way to finish the meet," Estes said. The boys are one of the strongest assets of our team, and they swam great at the end of the meet."
Emilio Todd was also pleased with how the relay went.
"The meet was really fun," he said. "Getting to compete with people that I've swum with for some time now was fun, and I have been getting better and cutting time off. I was dead tired in that relay, but it was super fun. Anyone who wants to do swim team, you will do good and you will eventually go fast. It's fun, and it's more like a family than a team."
Estes said that going into the season she didn't expect to win the district championship as several of last year's swimmers chose not to swim this year, and the team had a large contingent of beginners.
"I was very pleased with the improvement," she said. "There are a lot of beginner kids who improved minutes off their times, and our older more experienced swimmers also improved all year long. They just did awesome."
"I want to thank all the parents who helped make the meet go so much smoother," Hehn added. "And Halley and Jacob Hehn did a good job coaching."