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Sea Dragons swim with heart

Angel Carpenter

Blue Mountain Eagle

Small but mighty team performs well at East Cascade District Swim Meet.

BURNS – The John Day Swim team was few in numbers but mighty in strength at the East Cascade District Swim Meet in Burns last weekend.

With just 21 of their 48 members present Saturday, and 18 on Sunday, the John Day Sea Dragons placed fourth. However, coach Crista Waldner was pleased with their competitive edge.

“In the age groups where we had swimmers present, they were all in the finals – which was really neat to see,” she said.

Three John Day Sea Dragons won the high-point award for their age category, including 17-year-old Auna Walder in the 18 and under group (15-18), 12-year-old Russell Hodge in the 11-12 group, and 8-year-old Ryan Coalwell for 8 and under.

Other highlights from the meet came when 8-year-olds Sivanna Hodge and Isaac Janssen shaved a minute off their times in the 10 and under 200 freestyle races.

“That is impressive for their age,” Crista said. “Sivanna completed hers in under 5 minutes – there are 10-year-olds who can’t do that, and she did it with flip turns at the walls. Usually the younger kids haven’t mastered that or when they get tired they won’t do them.”

The coach noted that 13-year-old Torie Coalwell also took a significant amount of time off in the girls 13-14 individual medley race.

“We placed fourth out of four, but we only had 21,” Crista said. “We finished with 338 points, including relays – you only get points when you’re at the top of your events.”

Lakeview took first place; Burns, second; Prineville, third; and John Day, fourth.

The John Day coach said it was an enjoyable season.

“It was fun, and I learned a lot too,” she said.

She noted that she took advantage of coaching resources available when she became USA swimming certified, adding it was especially encouraging when the swimmers trusted her, followed her directions and “clicked.”

“It was neat seeing their drills and the mechanics of the strokes, and how excited they got when they improved,” she said.

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