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Vikings dive into swim season headfirst

Forest Grove will be young this season but still has some talented returners

Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Forest Grove senior Alondra Martinez swims to victory in the girls 100-yard butterfly last Thursday in the Vikings' season-opening meet. It’s a brave new world for the Forest Grove swim team.

The Vikings are looking to retool in some ways after graduating some of their brightest stars from last season, but they still bring some firepower to their new league, the Greater Valley Conference.

Perhaps the biggest loss was Prudence Rooker, who is already breaking into the record books at Liberty University in Virginia. In February, Rooker ended her high school career as a two-time state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, as well as the Class 6A state meet record holder in that event.

Along with classmate Oriene Shiel, she also was a mainstay on the Vikings’ relays. Those two helped both the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays make the consolation finals at state.

But the two other swimmers on those teams, Alondra Martinez and Rachael VanLoo, are back to highlight this year’s Forest Grove girls group.

A senior, Martinez was a finalist in both the 200 free and the 100 backstroke at the 2014 Pacific Conference district meet. A talented swimmer in her own right, Martinez finished 14th at state in the 500 free in 2013. Meanwhile, VanLoo, a junior, scored points with consolation swims in the 100 (15th) and 500 (11th) freestyle races at the district meet last season.

Also returning are junior Chloe Janko, who finished 14th in the 100 breaststroke and 16th in the 200 free at the district meet, and senior Jessica Bohms, who was 15th in the 200 individual medley.

The boys’ team graduated two of its best swimmers in Jake Alton (eighth in 200 free, ninth in 100 free at the district meet) and Jon Faris (fifth in 200 IM and 100 breast), but some of its top talent last year was young.

Now, that talent — specifically sophomores Trevor McGougan and Erik Myers — is still young, but adds youth to experience.

A season ago, McGougan took seventh in the conference in the 500 free and 10th in the 100 free, and Myers also had a second swim at the district meet (16th, 100 back). Both boys combined with Faris and Alton to make up the Vikings’ 200 and 400 free relays at districts.

Those two are definitely part of a youth movement this year for coach Tabor Waterstreet, as the roster of about 30 swimmers includes 12 freshmen and nine sophomores.

The Vikings jumped into the season and the new GVC, well, head-first by hosting McNary in a dual meet last Thursday. This Thursday, they travel to take on West Salem. Home meets include Dec. 18 against West Albany, Jan. 22 against Sprague and Jan. 29 against South Salem. The district meet is scheduled for Feb. 13-14 in McMinnville.

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