Newport rules Seahorse

Claire Hurty, 13, reflected on the hard work of competitive swimming after taking second place in the girls (13-14) 100-yard backstroke. Hurty collected points in all her swims.

Newport amasses winning splashes

NEWPORT — The defending champion Newport Swim Team blistered the lanes last weekend at the municipal pool, retaining their domination over the annual Seahorse Invitational Meet.

Swimming fast in age groups 9 to 18, the host team streaked past other contenders including large squads of talented metro-area contestants. Amassing 3,079 points for first place overall, NST swimmers captured first in 53 individual events and four team relays.

Forest Grove Swim Club was comfortably distant at second with 2,375 points. The Sherwood Y Dragons (2,139.5 pts.), Vancouver Swim Club (975 pts.) and the NW Blue Crush Aquatic Club (934.5 pts.) rounded out the top five positions.

The 44th Annual Seahorse Invitational drew 10 teams and about 130 top swimmers Aug. 9-11 at the Newport Aquatic Center. The iconic event, hosted by NST, is a much-anticipated swim season finale’, according to organizers.

“What a way to end the season, 700 points ahead of second-place Forest Grove because the kids swam great,” remarked Coach John Wray, acknowledging the home-court advantage. “The effect of sleeping in their own beds and swimming in their own pool is amazing.”

The Seahorse began Friday night with the Herculean laps of a 500-meter freestyle, where Cadence Jones, 10, earned first place and 20 points on a 7:49.86 time. Stella Bosley came in second (8:03.85), adding 17 more.

“It’s pretty easy,” smiled Jones after what appeared to be a grueling, nine-lap race that left her eager for more, including a third place run at the 50-yard backstroke (44.39) and seventh-place performance in the 50-yard freestyle (39.5).

Newport posted Top 5 times in nearly every event, often sweeping the lion’s share of points, such as the girls’ (9-10) 100-yard intermediate medley, where Gwynn Postlewait (1:31.32), Alondra Balderas (1:34.24), Stella Bosley (1:37.60) and Gigi Howard (1:37.79) took the top four times, scoring 68 — nearly a quarter of the points in a nine-school field.

Another straight hand was dealt in the men’s (15-plus) 100-yard backstroke with Caden Shanks at first (58.17), followed in order by by Nick Topar (1:00.97), Luke Bachart (1:02.65) and Toshio Toguchi (1:03.22). The sweep delivered 53 points.

In the men’s 100-yard freestyle, Newport took the top three posts as Shanks was again first with a time of 50.96, followed by Lucas Ellingson-Cosenza (52.57) at second and Luke Bachart (52.66) at third.

Bachart and Ellingson-Cosenza were both members of the 2019 state champion Newport H.S. Swim Team, where Ellingson won the 500-meter and 200 intermediate at state, while Bachart was second in the 500 and fourth in the 200. They explained how they rose to the top of their game.

“You can’t take long breaks and be a scoring swimmer,” advised Ellingson-Cosenza, 18, who plans to attend Oregon State University next fall. “You have to be dedicated and go to every practice. Nothing comes easy.”

Bachart, 17, is a multi-sport athlete who urged young swimmers to “stay mentally strong and make the most of every day.”

Newport made the best of the invite’s 244 team splashes, achieving 130 personal bests and seven team records. Among those new benchmarks:

• Jahan Eibner (9-10 boys), new NST record for 400 IM (5:47.03), 1st place at Seahorse;

• Layla Bretz (13-14 girls), new NST record for the 200-yard butterfly (2:23.76);

• New NST record for (9-10 girls) 400-yard freestyle relay (4:09.48, 3rd place Seahorse), Cadence Jones, Gigi Howard, Alondra Balderas, Gwynn Postlewait;

• New NST record for girls (9-10) 400-yard medley relay, Jones, Postlewait, Howard, Stella Bosley (6:18.87);

• New NST record for boys (11-12) 400-yard medley relay, Will Postlewait, Ben Hurty, Robert Lamerdin, Rider Jones (5:24.72);

• New NST record for girls (13-14) 400-yard freestyle relay (4:09.48) Lousia Lamerdin, Claire Hurty, Ana Kaldy, Bretz;

• New NST record for girls (13-14) 400-yard medley relay (4:52.54), Hurty, Pia Lihou, Bretz, Lamerdin.

First-time NST racers at the Seahorse included Evie Bosley, Skyla Chen, Anaid Castro, Chloe Sacket. Coach Wray said some of the best swims were turned in by 12-year-old Lucy Reinhart and Jahan Eibner, 10.

“The coaches are all very proud of the team,” concluded Wray.

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