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Birch, Rawding lead HRVST girls to second at HR Invite

The Aquatic Center was flooded with youth swimmers last weekend when the Hood River Valley Swim Team hosted the Hood River Invitational.

Eleven girls teams and eight boys teams from all over the state competed in the two-day event, which saw more than a few locals make a big splash in the home pool.

In the combined standings, HRVST finished fourth behind the Mt. Hood Swim Team, Columbia River Swim Team and Cascade Aquatic Club of Redmond. The girls took second place overall, while the boys took seventh.

“We had a great turnout and saw lots of personal records broken,” coach Shelly Rawding said. “It was a good tune-up for next weekend’s district meet.”

Amanda Birch and Justine Rawding each won multiple events, while Erin Jones, Nicole Shames, Lily Buttaccio and Sophie Oswald each posted numerous top-five finishes to lead the HRVST girls.

Birch outlasted the field in the 15-and-over girls 100 fly, 100 back and 200 IM, and watched as Rawding did the same in the 400 IM and 100 breast. She also took second to Birch in the 100 fly and 200 IM.

Jones’ best finish was a third place in the 11-12 girls 200 IM. She also took fourth in the 100 free, 50 breast and 500 free. Meanwhile, Oswald was in the top three all day, taking second in the 8-and-under girls 50 free, and third in the 25 fly, 25 back, 25 breast, 25 free and 100 IM.

Shames’ best finishes were a fourth in the 13-and-over girls 100 fly, and fifth places in the 100 free and 50 free. Buttaccio took fifth in the 8-and-under girls 25 back and 25 free, while teammate Alyssa Walker finished fourth in the 8-and-under girls 25 breast.

Other local girls with top-10 finishes at the Hood River Invite were Kayla Walker, Jessie Robertson, Adi Robertson, Katie Nelson, Kendra Mohar, Sara DeSitter, Brooke Brashers and Kelly Brashers.

The undermanned boys team tallied most of its points from the performances of Louis DeSitter, Tyler Jones, Rutger Bialkowsky and Jacob Rawding.

DeSitter, an up-and-coming star for the high-school team, placed fourth in the 13-and-over boys 50 free and fifth in the 100 free. Jones finished sixth in the 9-12 boys 50 fly and eighth in the 50 back, while Bialkowsky took seventh in both the 8-and-under boys 50 free and 25 free, and eighth in the 25 back. Rawding (pictured above) blazed to a fifth-place finish in the 8-and-under boys 25 fly.

HRVST is preparing this week for the district meet, to be held Aug. 10-11 in Pendleton.

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