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Sandy relay team chases school records at this weekends NWOC district swimming meet.

by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Asha Gatchell brings home the tag-team event with the freestyle leg. The Sandy girls’ swimming team will be going for its second straight district championship at Parkrose on Thursday and Friday, but four Pioneers have something even bigger on their minds.

“We definitely want to win, but we would really love to set the school records in the relays,” Sandy swimmer Hannah Gupton said.

Gupton, Shelbi Hayzlett, Asha Gatchell and Zayna Salveter make up the Pioneers’ 200 individual medley and 200 freestyle relay teams. This foursome might be the best Sandy High has ever seen. They dominated both events in every meet this season. Despite having no legitimate challenge, they still flirted with the school records.

The current record for the 200 free relay is 1:44.85. These Pioneers came within 2.4 seconds of that mark against Sherwood last month. In that same meet, they finished 1.86 seconds behind the medley relay record of 1:57.08.

The Pioneers have been working all year to be in top form by the district meet. That meet could be the perfect setting for Gupton, Hayzlett, Gatchell and Salveter to make school history.

They are in tip-top shape physically, but their biggest advantage might be their competition. All of Sandy’s opponents will be at their best, and will be targeting the Pioneers. With everyone chasing the Sandy Four, they will be pushed for the first time this year.

Three-quarters of the team has been on this stage before and knows what to expect. Gupton, Salveter and Gatchell were part of last year’s relay team that won the district championship in the 200 medley and 200 free. In the 200 free, that foursome finished 1.27 seconds back of the school record. They came within nine-10ths of a second in the medley. This season’s four stands ready to improve upon that.

Hayzlett, Salveter, Gupton and Gatchell also know state seeding will be at stake. They want to put themselves in the best position possible at state with what they do at districts.

Everything sets up well for the Pioneers to put their names up on the record board which hangs on the wall of the Sandy Pool. It just comes down to execution.

“It is going to take all of our focus and effort to get the records,” Gupton said. “We know it can happen, we just have to make it happen. We have to just go out and do it.”

In their last dual meet of the season, Hayzlett, Salveter, Gupton and Gatchell kept their emotions in check and refrained from celebrating when they won the medley and freestyle relays. If they post record-breaking performances this weekend, the celebration to follow might never end.

The Northwest Oregon Conference district meet begins Thursday at 8:30 a.m. with preliminary races. The finals begin on Friday at 9:00 a.m.

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