Team heads into district meet with hopes of sending several athletes to state tournament

Last Thursday the Forest Grove High boys and girls swim teams finished the regular season on a high note with victories in a dual meet against Glencoe. (The boys won 96-74; the girls, 88-75.) The Vikings will now turn their attention toward the OSAA district swim meet.

'We'd like to finish in the top three in district,' Forest Grove coach Paul Waterstreet says.

The Vikings have several strong swimmers, but when talking about his two teams, Waterstreet uses an analogy.

'If you want to compare it to basketball, our starting group is very good, but, we don't have the numbers or the depth to finish up after that,' Waterstreet says.

Forest Grove has 30 swimmers competing this season-divided about equally between the boys and girls teams.

The boys are led by Gabe Rooker, a defending state champion in the 100 meter breast stroke, Tim Sandage, who swims the individual medley (IM) and freestyle and Charles Morse, who swims the butterfly and freestyle.

The girls are led by Vera Hutchinson, who swims the IM and butterfly, Stephanie Stanich, who swims the breaststroke and Alondra Martinez, who swims the butterfly and IM.

The Vikings 'bench' has continued to improve over the course of the season, helping Forest Grove earn more points as a team.

'All those people who are coming off the bench are improving by huge leaps and bounds, much faster than I thought they would,' Waterstreet says. 'They're just not quite up to the caliber of the competition yet. They're getting closer, but we're not quite there yet. But, we're doing pretty well. Every meet we go to, we seem to get a little bit better and become more competitive.'

At this point, Waterstreet knows that the Vikings winning a state championship is an unrealistic goal. But, he would like Forest Grove to get as many swimmers into the state meet as possible and have some of them walk away with state titles.

'We're not going to win the state championship as a team,' Waterstreet says. 'But, maybe we can get a couple of individual championships.'

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