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Sandy girls win tight battle for league crown


Hannah Gupton wins the 50 freestyle sprint and the butterfly to boost the Pioneers team score.

by: THE POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Zayna Salveter comes up for air during the breaststroke final on Saturday.

PORTLAND — The Sandy girls’ swimming team had something to prove. The lady Pioneers felt their perfect regular season would mean nothing if they didn’t defend it at the Northwest Oregon Conference district championship. The Pioneers delivered, holding off Sherwood and St. Helens to claim the conference title Saturday.

“We knew Sherwood and St. Helens were going to be right there with us,” Amanda Snodgrass said. “We knew it wouldn’t be easy and we would have to give it our best. We wanted to show that Sandy is still a powerhouse, and it all fell into place.”

The key to Sandy’s win was its success in the relays. Starting with the first event, the 200-yard medley relay, the Pioneers took control. The foursome of Snodgrass, Asha Gatchell, Zayna Salveter and Hannah Gupton swam out to an early lead and they maintained it all the way to the finish. Sherwood closed the gap on the final leg, but ran out of water before it could overtake Sandy.

Some three hours later, the same four Pioneers took to the platform for the 200 freestyle relay. This time, Sherwood took an early advantage. After the first two 50-yard legs, Sherwood led by about two seconds, but Sandy knew what it was doing.

Gupton and Snodgrass, who finished first and second in the 50 freestyle, were Sandy’s last two swimmers. That duo paddled past the Bowmen to give Sandy another close win over Sherwood. It was then that the Pioneers knew the conference trophy was theirs.

“We knew if we could win the two relays, we would have it locked down,” Snodgrass said. “No one is ever going to get this experience again. Being able to win this is just awesome.”

Sandy’s relay swimmers also helped the cause with solid outings in their individual events. Gatchell finished third in the 200 free and second in the 500 free, while Salveter took third place in the 200 yard individual medley and second place in the breaststroke.

Snodgrass posted personal best times in the 50 free and the backstroke. She took second in both events to boost the team score.

As expected, Gupton outpaced everyone. She broke the 26-second mark in the 50 free and was the only swimmer to beat Snodgrass. In the butterfly where she is the defending state champion, Gupton edged Sherwood’s Emily Stevens by .12 hundredths.

Gupton will compete for the state title in both individual events, and in the two relays, this weekend at Mt. Hood Community College.

Sandy’s winning times

200 yard medley relay: 1:57.98

200 yard freestyle relay: 1:46.12

50 yard freestyle, Hannah Gupton: 25.58

100 yard butterfly, Hannah Gupton: 58.63