Tuesday, February 28, 2012/lk
Momentum is building for the Hood River Valley swim team.
The Eagles girls team placed sixth at the 5A state championships Saturday night at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, with Taylor Tyynismaa leading the way individually with fourth-place finishes in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle swims and anchoring a second-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay.
The Eagles' lone male representative, junior Connor Webb, took third in both the 200 yard IM and the 200-yard breaststroke.
The Eagles qualified the girls 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay for the finals, as well as getting Tyynismaa, Webb and Alyssa Walker through individually.
"I couldn't be happier," said HRV coach Keith Ebbert. "Everybody swam faster this week than they did last week."
In the 200 relay, the team of Danielle Miller, Kylie Webb, Tyynismaa and Walker got blazing legs from Walker and Tyynismaa in the second half of the race to overtake both Crescent Valley and Marshfield and take second place, finishing 2.61 seconds back of first-place Summit with a time of 1:54.75
The first race of the finals would prove to be the best performance by the Eagles on the night.
"The 200-meter relay was outstanding," Ebbert said.
Tyynismaa placed second in the 50 freestyle last year, but ran into a significantly faster field this time around. She took fourth, edging Jennifer Torney of Bend by one-hundredth of a second for the spot with a time of 25.41, dropping nine-tenths of a second from her preliminary time. Grace Carlson of Wilson won the event with a 23.62 All-American consideration time.
"This year state was faster than last year," Tyynismaa said. "So I'm just being able to get where I did."
She also took fourth in the 100-meter race, finishing in 55.28.
"It feels kind of cool," she said. "Because I'm swimming faster than last, so I know I have room to improve."
Tyynismaa hopes to continue swimming at the masters level and possibly collegiately.
Walker turned in a solid all-around meet of her own in her final trip to state, she finished fourth in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:13.83 and sixth in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:00.44.
"She knocked down something like six seconds from district," said Ebbert.
Webb was again the only HRV male swimmer competing at the meet, but several of his teammates came close to qualifying this year, and a relay alternate team made the trip as well.
In the 200 IM he finished cleanly in third with a time of 1:55.76, while Carlos Hunnicutt of Springfield won the event with a 5A record time of 1:53.08.
He again took third behind a record-setter in the 100 breaststroke. Cameron Lindsey of North Eugene set a 5A record with a 59.09 to win the event. Webb meanwhile edged Aiden Soles of Summit by .03 of a second to take third with a 1:01.61 time.
"Connor did great even though he wasn't tapered down," said Ebbert.
In the 400-yard freestyle relay the Eagles team of Walker, Kylie Webb, Kayla Schilling and Tyynismaa could not keep up with the pace set by Summit, Sherwood and Bend early and finished well back in sixth place. However, a disqualification of fifth-place finisher Crescent Valley allowed them to move up one spot on the podium after posting a time of 3:48.30, .35 of a second faster than their preliminary time.
In Friday's preliminary heats, Kylie Webb swam a 2:19.76 in the 200 IM to finish ninth. She finished 10th in the 100 breaststroke with a time 1:13.86. Danielle Miller finished 12th in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:44.16. Miller finished 11th in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:04.57. The 200 yard freestyle relay team of Schilling, Caitlyn Fick, Rebekah Galvez and Miller finished 12th with a time of 1:49.89.
All told the Eagle girls scored 24 points to finish in sixth out of 17 teams.
Ebbert is hopeful that the Eagles will have even bigger numbers next year. Of the eight swimmers at state, six will be returning to the team next year.
"Before the season is over we'll nominate new captains for next year," Ebbert said. "They'll be a driver for next year, to get new talent, new recruits and to continue this culture that has developed."