Splashing into the new season
Jesuit's boys and girls both lose against tough Tualatin in the preseason
TUALATIN - Though each team was missing key swimmers, Jesuit and Tualatin still managed to make things exciting until the end in their non-league swim meet last week.
The Crusader boys won seven of 11 events, but the Timberwolves' depth won out for an 86-84 victory at Tualatin High School. The outcome wasn't decided until Tualatin closed the meet with a 2-3 finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
With the OSAA realignment cutting the number of teams in the Metro League, defending state champion Jesuit got a chance to face Tualatin, a team that tied for second at state last year, in the preseason.
'This gave the boys an opportunity to see people you don't normally see,' Jesuit coach Stoddart Smith said.
Each squad had members away at the Husky Invitational club meet in Federal Way, Wash., but the level of competition was still high throughout.
The Crusaders won four of the first five events and held a 50-44 advantage at the midway point before the Wolves moved in front for good by taking the top three places in the 500 freestyle.
Jesuit battled back in the final three events, but Tualatin held on to win after nabbing second and third points in the final relay.
Senior Garth Summers and freshman Brian Stocks paced the Crusaders with a pair of wins. Summers dominated in his two victories with solid early-season times in both the 200 individual medley (1 minute, 59.11 seconds) and the 100 butterfly (51.28).
Stocks and Summers teamed with Sam Conchuratt and Joey Bieze to win the 200 medley relay in 1:42.54. Stocks followed by holding off Tualatin's Jack Butcher to take first in the 200 free by a half-second at 1:57.30.
Jesuit led 43-35 after Summers' second win. But the Wolves swept the 500 free to pull ahead 57-53 then extended it to 67-57 by taking first and third in the 200 freestyle relay.
Jesuit closed the gap when Stocks won the 100 backstroke in 58.89. He built a body-length lead through the first lap and won by nearly three seconds.
'My goggles leaked, but other than that, it went pretty good,' Stocks said.
Conchuratt helped the Crusaders draw within four points at 80-76 when he won the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.47. He battled Tualatin's Will Dai neck-and-neck through the halfway point before pulling ahead on his final flip turn.
Jesuit closed out the meet with a win in the 400 freestyle relay. Tualatin led after the first leg before McDonald chased down his Wolves' counterpart and nearly caught him before touching in for Conchuratt's leg. Conchuratt pulled into the lead halfway through his effort then moved ahead before the final flip turn, giving anchor Summers a slight cushion he significantly expanded in winning by 4.5 seconds with a time of 3:23.24.
Jesuit showed it can compete with the state's best last week, winning more events against the Timberwolves, last year's state runner-up, before dropping a 93-77 decision Thursday at Tualatin High School.
The Crusaders were victorious in six of the 11 races with four different individuals earning wins to go with a pair of relay victories. Tualatin countered by filling the scoring spots at the meet in which both teams swam shorthanded with key with members gone at the Husky Invitational.
Jesuit took an early lead when Natalie Reilly, Laura Staley, Christine Doran and Chelsea Garza earned a narrow victory in the meet-opening 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1 minute, 59.75 seconds.
Tualatin answered by outscoring Jesuit in the next three events to take control for good.
Megan Foley earned Jesuit's first individual victory, winning the 200 individual medley in 2:17.08. Gab Nansen added a win in the 100 butterfly (1:03.20) and Foley followed by taking first in the 100 freestyle (55.61) as the Crusaders stayed close, trailing 49-45 through six events.
But Tualatin won the next three races to pull away, expanding its lead to 79-61 after finishing 1-2 in the 100 backstroke.
The final individual race proved to be the closest with a pair of Wolves and Crusaders each battling near the front through the final flip turn, with two feet separating the four swimmers. Doran and Tualatin's Lainee Perala shot ahead in the home stretch with Doran touching first for the victory in 1:17.43.
'It felt really close,' Doran said. 'I pretty much went all numb and went all out. I didn't think about it and swam like I was taught. I pretended I didn't have to do anything after the race, even though I did.'
Doran had enough left in the tank to help the Crusaders finish with a victory in the meet-ending 400 freestyle relay. The sophomore swam the third leg of the race, stretching her team's lead to two body lengths before tagging off to anchor Foley, who brought home the win in 3:51.43. Teammates Nansen and Reilly built the Crusaders a five-foot lead in the first two legs.