Swimmers in the Cascade East District enjoyed the season finale district championships as they flocked to Gleason Pool Friday-Sunday, July 26-28, in John Day.
A total of 182 swimmers from four teams competed.
Prineville’s team won with 885 points and 76 swimmers on their roster.
Lakeview was second with 641 and 55 swimmers, John Day third with 365 points and 37 swimmers and Hi-Desert (Burns) fourth with 243 points and 25 swimmers.
Sierra May, 11, was the high-point swimmer for the John Day Sea Dragons, contributing 25 points.
May said she set personal records last year.
“I have to try even harder this year to set records,” she said at the meet.
Quinn Larson, 14, was the high-point swimmer for John Day’s boys team with 19 points.
Larson and Brady Wyllie, 14, said the sport is fun and they like being with friends at the meets.
The two compete in several sports, including basketball and baseball together, plus Larson plays football.
Wyllie said he’s also on the middle school cross country team.
“This is an all-in-one sport,” he said. “It works out every muscle in your body.”
“This is my all-time favorite, right here,” Larson said.
John Day swimmer Russell Hodge, as he was getting ready to compete in the 100-yard freestyle event, said everyone was competing well and swimming hard.
“My goal is to make it to finals for each race. You have to be in the top five, and there’s one race for each event,” he said.
John Day head coach Sabrina Howard said a highlight from the championships was seeing Russell and his brother Justin race each other in the finals.
“It definitely gave a thrill for all the spectators, cheering to see who will touch the wall first,” she said.
“I’m tickled at how our team performed in our district championship, for the size of our team,” she said. “They worked super hard and are very deserving of third place — we should be very proud of that.”
Howard said the growth from the John Day Invitational Swim Meet, held the previous weekend, to the district championship was amazing.
“Some swimmers even shaved up to 17 seconds off their time,” she said.
The sad part, she said, is that some of the swimmers are at the peak of their season, and they have to close the chapter.
“I’m hopeful that we have returning swimmers for next year, along with having inspired other kids in our community to want to join our swim team family,” she said.
Howard said it takes many people to run the meet, including parents who help “in every aspect” including recording times, serving as deck officers and helping with food.
“It’s amazing,” she said.
She said Shanna Hunt helps keep track of medals, Julie Larson is the meet director and Chantal DesJardin adds stats into the computer.
Howard said that Gleason Pool is a big part of the Cascade East.
“With the jeopardy of losing our pool, it will affect a larger spectrum of athletes across the state,” she said, adding the revenue that comes from the local meets makes a “big economic impact on the community.”
She said at the meets visitors hear about places to explore in the area, and they talk about returning to Grant County.
She said what the pool provides to families, promotes the growth of the town.
“You want to be able to offer these things,” she said.
An awards banquet for the team and family and friends will be held at the John Day city park at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 31.