Gabi Smith wins 50 freestyle in Redmond
Last Saturday at the Jay Rowan Invitational in Redmond, Madras junior swimmer Gabi Smith smoked the field and claimed victory in the 50-meter freestyle.
Although her time of 31.87 wasn't a personal best, MHS coach Tim Nelson noted Smith commanded the race while not wearing a championship "tech suit."
In her next race, the 100-meter freestyle, Smith was pulling ahead of Sisters High's, 6-foot-3 sprinter star, Hawley Harrer, at the 75-meter mark, when her cap came off and somehow ended up in her hand. Smith finished second with a respectable time of 1:09.11, but not her best.
"Gabi is on track," Nelson said. "Redmond is not the best pool. The water is hot and there is no warm down area. I am pleased with where she is."
Overall, Nelson said the team made big strides, despite having only three girls and six boys. Sophomore Grayson Dominguez continued picking up personal bests by dropping a whopping 3.54 seconds in the 50 freestyle and posting a seventh-place finish (30.48). He finished seventh in the 100 free as well.
Brothers Kyle and Karson Hartman posted times to finish third and sixth, as well, in the 50 free.
"Frankly, swimming at any level, is about sprinting," Nelson said. "The fact that we had three top-eight boy placers in the 50 free is indicative of Madras swimming. Whether Madras High School or Madras Swim Team, small numbers or large, we will sprint!"
Other scoring swims for the White Buffalos included Karson Hartman placing fourth in the 100 backstroke; Eryn McCourtney 12th in the 50 free and eighth in the 100 free; Teague Schierling 4th in the 100 free and 100 breaststroke; Buddy Smith 12th in the 100 free; Bailee Tucker sixth in the 50 free and third in the 100 breaststroke.
Both the Madras boys and girls teams finished in fourth place behind Redmond, Sisters and Ridgeview. The next competition for MHS is this Saturday at the Madras Aquatic Center, where the team will host the White Buffalo Classic. Competition begins at 1 p.m. and is free to the public.
Lexi Williams challenges 12-Year Olds
In a display of versatility, 11-year-old Lexi Williams placed within the top eight in all eight of her 11-12 age group swims last weekend at McMinnville.
Known for her freestyle prowess, Williams set a PR and MST record in the 50 breaststroke, dropping a whopping 6.8 seconds to 36.49. The time proved to be victorious against some of Oregon's top swimmers and lowered former MST standout Sophie Gemelas' 2010 record by 0.52 seconds.
"I would have never guessed that outcome — 39 (seconds) maybe. But, when you put in the work, good things happen," coach Sara Nelson said.
And indeed they did. Williams lowered three of her own records on the way to third-place finishes in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 individual medley. In the 50 free, the only event to feature a prelim and final format, Williams was the only 11-year-old in the final. Her time of 26.98, along with her 100 time of 59.93, dipped beneath important mental barriers for some swimmers, noted Nelson. All combined, Williams racked up 120 points.
Younger sister Ava Williams also got into the scoring and record-breaking act. Ava finished eighth in the 25 back, ninth in the 50 free, and 12th in both the 25 fly and 25 breast. Her 100 free and 100 IM were both new MST marks.
In a meet that featured more than 50 swimmers in some events, MST had two additional ribbon winners. Kami Ackley, 11, finished 15th in the 100 IM; and, Johan Garcia third 25 back, fifth 25 fly, and 11th 50 back. Nine other MST swimmers competed in the meet and established numerous best times according to Nelson. The team next competes Jan. 21 in Hood River.