Kyah Weeber
PHS freshman Kyah Weeber took first place in the 100-yard breaststroke and second in the 200-yard individual medley during Wednesday’s home dual. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The Philomath High School swim team made one final regular-season appearance at Clemens Community Pool on Wednesday with a dual against Newport. Five Warriors won individual events.

PHS head coach Daniel Mikula said the meet provided a great matchup for swimmers.


“We knew they had some big guns but we talked about finishing races and being ‘in the race’ with some intensity,” he said. “They did great with that. I have really been leaning on the kids working on having them push through when having to swim tired … they know they have it in them they just need to squeeze a little more out of their hearts.”

Mikula said he was encouraged with a lot of results at or just below personal records for individual swimmers.

“We are poised to roll into the district push and we will be ready for some fast, rested swims in a few weeks at districts,” he said. “Always a bittersweet moment as it was our last regular-season meet with our seniors. Never easy for a coach especially when you have such special kids.”

In the closest race of the day, Philomath sophomore Madison Juhl and Newport sophomore Charlotte Gardner raced to a tie in the 100-yard freestyle. The two both touched the wall at the same moment for times of 1 minute, 14.50 seconds.

Junior Allison Neelands won the 50 freestyle with a time of 29.43 seconds — 1.76 faster than the runner-up. Freshman Kyah Weeber easily won the 100 breaststroke in 1:25.35, which was a margin of victory of more than 6 seconds.

Individual runner-up finishes for the girls included Weeber in the 200 individual medley (2:42.25), Juhl in the 50 freestyle (31.19) and junior Katherine Holden in the 100 butterfly (1:36.31). Third-place finishes included Neelands in the 200 freestyle (2:32.41), junior Grace Bennett in the 100 freestyle (1:19.03), junior Emma Holden in the 500 freestyle (7:11.44) and senior Emery Boutilier in the 100 breaststroke (1:32.03).

In the relays, the 200 medley foursome of senior Ophelia Katsikis, Boutilier, Weeber and Neelands was second in 2:22.72; the 200 freestyle of Emma Holden, Weeber, Juhl and Neelands was second in 2:07.09; and the 400 freestyle of Juhl, freshman Kateri Pindell, freshman Abilyn Mahoney and Emma Holden was second in 5:15.62.

Mikula said Weeber “had some special swims with drops in the 200 IM and a super race to the finish in the 100 breast” and added that Marliese Navarette “was able to get her 50 time down under the 1:00 mark for the first time and followed up with a huge drop in her 100 free as well — such great gains from a new swimmer over the course of the short season.”

Junior Kellen Houchin picked up an individual win for Philomath in the 100 breaststroke. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

In the boys’ competition, PHS won two individual events and one relay. Junior Carrson Hirte took the 50-yard freestyle in 24.81 seconds with the runner-up from Newport a distant second at 28.12. Junior Kellen Houchin took first in the 100 breaststroke by more than 10 seconds.

The 400 freestyle relay with junior Micah Matthews, freshman Emmitt Gaskey, sophomore Marshall Morrison and sophomore Henry Katsikis beat Newport’s foursome by more than 2 seconds.

Runner-up finishes individually for the Warriors included senior Braedon Littrell in the 200 freestyle (2:34.25), Houchin in the 100 butterfly (1:08.72), Hirte in the 100 backstroke (1:02.97) and Katsikis in the 100 breaststroke (1:24.16). Littrell’s time in the 200 free was 18 seconds from his previous-best time, which had been set last season.

Mikula said Katsikis “was able to deliver in his fast finish in the 100 breast and then as anchor of the winning 400 free relay” and that Houchin “did his thing really showing how much the hard work has been paying off.”

Third-place finishes were turned in by Matthews in the 200 individual medley (2:45.09), Littrell in the 100 butterfly (1:22.00), Katsikis in the 100 freestyle (1:04.10) and Morrison in the 500 freestyle (7:37.01).

The team’s 200 medley relay with Hirte, Matthews, Houchin and Littrell was second in 2:01.22. The 200 freestyle relay with Littrell, Katsikis, Houchin and Hirte was second in 1:48.34.

Said Mikula, “So many great efforts from all of the swimmers tonight. This is a special group and I am proud to share the deck with them and with my assistant coach Iliana Kaiser. I would be lost without her and my monitor, Ruth Cropp.”

Warriors sophomore Henry Katsikis swims a leg on the winning 400-yard freestyle relay. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Philomath vs. Newport Dual
Wednesday, Jan. 26, at Clemens Community Pool, Philomath HS