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Just below the surface: more than winning

Molalla's swim team shows good sportsmanship in first home meet.


by: CORY MIMMS - Members of Molalla's swim team dive in at the Molalla Aquatic Center during the first home meet.Swimmers from Riverdale High School joined Molalla’s swim team on Wednesday, in the Indians’ first home meet of the season.

“The first home meet is about practicing and showing good sportsmanship,” Coach Melissa Georgesen said.

The swimmers from both Riverdale and Molalla did just that, cheering for each other rather than letting competitive nature divide them.

The hard part of a small meet is not having a lot of swimmers from other high schools in the water all at once, Georgesen said. “They’re basically competing against themselves.”

Several events on Wednesday only had one or two swimmers competing in them. The time in the water will help the swimmers prepare for the rest of season though.

“The district meet is the end all be all,” Georgesen said.

In swimming, only the district times qualify swimmers for state.

To ensure the team is up to snuff come February, Georgesen packed the schedule with meets. This will give the swimmers a chance to compete in a variety of events and sharpen up their skills in the water.

“It’s hard being a winter sport,” Georgesen said. “Especially over the holidays. We don’t rest. They’ll be practicing through the break.”

The team has quite a few new members as well, some who have never swam competitively.

“They all have great attitudes,” Georgesen said. “I’m excited.”

Swimmers have to keep themselves in good shape. Taking even a few weeks out of the water can cost them seconds in their times.

Kayla Watkins, one of Molalla’s top swimmers, is currently working toward getting her time back to where it was last year.

Last year, Watkins swam the 100 freestyle in 1:04, she said. On Wednesday, she finished with a time of 1:07.69, more than a second slower than her finishing time in the same event in Canby on Dec. 9.

Watkins didn’t swim over the summer, and Wednesday’s meet was only her second of the season.

“My times aren’t at where they were last year,” Watkins said. “I have the rest of the season to improve.”

Still, in several events on Wednesday, she was off the block and in the water before other swimmers’ feet had left the block.

Starts and flip turns are her strong point, she said.

Watkins said the rest of the team is working really hard, and she’s looking forward to the season with them.

“Swimmers are like teabags, you don't know how strong they are until you put them in the water,” Watkins said, quoting one of the sport’s oldest adages.



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