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Forest Grove swim teams showing lots of potential

Both boys and girls squads have talent and depth this year

The youth movement continues for the Forest Grove swim teams this winter.

Over the last couple seasons, the Vikings have welcomed some talented youngsters to their ranks. Another talented class joins the fold this year, providing the teams with increased depth and star power. The total turnout of 39 swimmers is the most during head coach Tabor Waterstreet’s tenure.

Forest Grove flashed both its new and now-veteran talent last week, when the Vikings swept McNary on the road to open the season. The girls turned back the Celtics, 91-73, while the boys blasted the home team, 111-56.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES
 - Forest Grove's Cali Rowland, then a freshman, swims at last season's Class 6A state championships at Mount Hood Community College.

“It’s great to start that off,” Waterstreet said. “It gives momentum. We actually have quite a little bit more depth with our boys team than I thought, and the girls team, we have depth, just at this point not as much speed as the boys.”

Both of the Vikings’ returning state meet participants picked up two individual wins apiece against McNary.

Now a junior, Trevor McGougan won the 500- and 200-yard freestyle races against the Celts. He qualified for the Class 6A state meet in the longer event back in February.

And sophomore Cali Rowland won her specialties, the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, against McNary. As a freshman at last year’s state meet, she raced in the consolation finals of both of those events, finishing seventh in the breaststroke.

Forest Grove has several new candidates to step into the role of freshman phenom this season. On the girls’ side, Waterstreet has every expectation that Daphne Janko will qualify for state. She excels in the 200 and 500 free races, in particular.

“I would say other than Cali, she will probably be one of the biggest highlights we’re going to have throughout our season,” Waterstreet said of Janko. “Daphne’s got a great shot at winning districts and probably within the top three or five at state.”

Classmate Jordan Bohms, who won the 50 free and 100 butterfly last week, should “score some good points for us,” Waterstreet noted.

Some key returners for the girls team include Chloe Janko — the 100 backstroke and 100 free winner at McNary — Rachael VanLoo, Stevie Walker, Amelia Garcia and Sarah O’Donnell.

For the boys, Otis Shiel, Erik Myers and Gage Pittman, along with McGougan, help form a strong team core. Shiel won the 50 free and 100 fly against McNary, while Pittman took the 100 free and 100 back. Freshman Hunter Bartoo showed promise with a first-place finish in the 200 IM, while sophomore Duncan Reasoner, who won the breaststroke, has made a lot of progress over the past year, Waterstreet said.

“My ‘A’ relays, we’re going to be able to mix-and-match them quite a bit,” Waterstreet said. “I think if I set them up the right way, I think we’ll be able to score a lot more points with them ... so that’s going to be a lot of fun.”

With the increased depth, Waterstreet is hoping to advance a few more swimmers to state this season. The Greater Valley Conference district meet is scheduled for Feb. 12-13 in McMinnville, while the Class 6A state meet returns to Mount Hood Community College in Gresham on Feb. 19-20.

The Vikings stage their first home contest of the season on Thursday afternoon, when they host West Salem at the Forest Grove Aquatic Center. Their other home meets this winter are on Jan. 5 (McMinnville), Jan. 7 (North Salem) and Feb. 2 (McKay).