Wednesday, February 20, 2002
GRESHAM — HRV senior Oliver Burton added two more medals to his long list of swimming achievements Saturday at the OSAA/U.S. Bank State Swimming Championships.
Burton, a veteran on the state swimming scene who owns numerous HRV team records, finished fourth in the 100 butterfly and fifth in the 50 free to cap a
remarkable four-year run.
“I’m glad I made it to the finals,” he said. “I know a lot of people are happy that I got this far. It was a good way to go out.”
Burton said that once the season started in November, he had been gunning for a top-three state finish in both events. However, he was confident that he poured his heart and soul into his senior season and final state competition.
His times of 22.44 seconds in the 50 free and 53.16 seconds in the 100 fly were just shy of consideration All-American times. Only one swimmer in either event — Roseburg’s Patrick O’Neill — was able to match the national pace (50.87 in the 100 fly).
“I swam a little faster than last year,” said Burton, who earned a fifth and a sixth place at the 2001 state meet. “(Saturday) was a little harder than the prelims because I was more tired physically. But I still came close to my qualifying times, so I’m happy.” he said.
Burton had reason to be winded. In addition to his two individual events, he also competed in the 200 medley relay along with his sophomore brother, Henry, and juniors Cody MacMillan and Erik Hidle — the team that set an HRV team record at the Feb. 8-9 district meet.
The team didn’t quite match its record pace in either the prelims or the consolation final, finishing 11th out of 18 teams. But their time of 1:45.29 almost got them into the top 10. Crescent Valley barely edged out the Eagles at the wall to take 10th place by one one-hundredth of a second.
The state meet experience will no doubt help the relay team’s three underclassmen as they look to improve in 2003.
HRV will greatly miss Burton’s leadership next season — not to mention his guaranteed wins in the 50 free and 100 fly at every dual meet — as the team moves into the Intermountain Conference.
But with future leaders like MacMillan, Hidle, Henry Burton, Daniel Chance, Sean Jennings and Adam Brown, the Eagles should remain a contender.