LINCOLN CITY — Thursday’s Taft Invitational swim meet featured personal bests, exciting races and a close finish as the Newport boys swim team narrowly upended the Taft Tigers 348 to 347 for first place.
The Cubs’ girls finished first as well, with 323 points, while the Tigers came in just behind with a total of 291.
The Toledo Boomers finished fifth in both groups; 73 points for the boys and 65 for the girls.
“Great team effort for a short and intense meet,” Taft head coach Lissa Parker said. “Very close swims, good teamwork. Always uplifting to have a home meet.”
The Cubs were powered by a team effort that produced a total of 671 points between both girls and boys teams.
For Newport head coach Angie Sremba, just being able to weather a string of illnesses earlier in the season has been a positive, but the Cubs continue to excel in the pool.
The Cubs had 16 first place finishes out of 22 total events.
“It was exciting to get back into the water in January, but we have dealt with a lot of illness in December, competing at kind of a third of our team at meets,” Sremba said. “It was really hard to see where we were as a team.”
But the Taft meet was a strong showing by the Cubs overall. Both the boys and girls shined in many events, including the boys and girls 200 SC meter freestyle.
The girls had two finishers in the top two; Ana Kaldy with a time of 2:29.60 and Chyanna Blackburn who finished shortly after with a time of 2:34.08.
For the boys; Luke Bachart finished first with a time of 2:08.48, while Tristan Scarborough came in second with a final time of 2:17.64.
Newport’s sweep of the boys and girls 200 SC freestyle was only a fraction of the action for the Cubs.
Lorelei Bretz finished first in the girls 100 SC butterfly with a 1:24.73 time, Toshio Toguchi won the boys 100 SC butterfly at 1:09.20, while Caden Shanks and Josh Malloy finished first and second in the 100 SC freestyle with times of 57.13 and 1:06.79 respectively.
For the Tigers, home cooking did them well as they finished second in both the boys and girls rankings.
Taft had a combined 22 swimmers/teams place in the top three during Thursday’s Taft Invitational.
Like the Cubs of Newport, the Tigers have been dealing with, and overcoming illness during the first half of the swimming season.
“I think, overall, all of the swimmers are doing well. We are training hard mid-season and some people have been sick, so that’s always a factor, but having a home meet is also very helpful,” Parker said. “We are just sort of solidifying who can do what.”
Lesley Lagunes Rodrigues took off the most time in both of her events — almost 20 seconds in her 100 butterfly. Sam Cortes won the 200 IM, and Dylan Barrera took shaved time off his 400 free swim.
The Tigers also took second and third in the boys and girls 200 SC meter medley relay.
The boys — Cortes, Jose Segura, Mugen Evenson and Michael Young — finished with a time of 2:07.69, good enough for second, while the girls — Napy Meyer, Sammy Halferty, Lagunes and Ella Knott — took third place with a time of 2:36.17.
The AquaBoomers might’ve finished fifth in both the boys and girls divisions, but overall, time improvement is important to head coach Peter Vince.
Toledo had six finishes within the top five.
“Our focus is on improvement, and the goal is for them to PR,” Vince said on his team’s goal at the Taft Invitational.
But the swimming season has a lot of action still left for the AquaBoomers, as well as Lincoln County as a whole.
“We are kind of at the midpoint of the season and when I was scoping it out at the beginning of the year, I counted that were going to have 52 practices, and we are at practice 29 tomorrow, so we are a little bit more than halfway,” Vince said.
Caleb Fourier finished first in the boys 50 SC freestyle with a time of 29.17, while Toledo’s only senior girl swimmer, Janella Fleser, finished second in the girls 100 SC freestyle.
All three Lincoln County schools will travel to Tillamook on Saturday, Jan. 18, for the Cheese Relay.
After the Taft Invitational on Thursday, Jan. 9, Toledo, Newport and Taft competed in the Blanchet Invite Jan.11 among 10 teams.
Newport finished second for the boys, with a point score of 175, while the girls finished second with a final tally of 141.
For the Tigers, the boys team finished fourth with 111 points, and the girls wrapped up their day with 62 points in sixth place.
The AquaBoomers finished in the final spot for the boys division with 15 points.