Senior Carrson Hirte finished second in the 100 backstroke while breaking his own school record. The event's winner, Clayten Heuberer of Sisters, broke the meet record. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Editor's note

Meet officials disqualified two Cascade relays after it had been discovered that one of that school's swimmers had competed in five events (the maximum allowed is four). This story has been updated to reflect the change, which impacted team scoring.

ALBANY — Glancing up at the electronic scoreboard after finishing the 100-yard backstroke on Saturday, Philomath High’s Carrson Hirte reacted to his time by slapping the water hard.

But the Warriors senior was not angry. It was a moment of excitement after discovering that he had bettered his own school record in the 100-yard backstroke by more than a full second.

Philomath girls 3rd at district swim meet

ALBANY — Now the waiting begins. Philomath High’s girls swim team placed in several events at Saturday’s Special District 4 meet at Albany Community Pool to finish third in the final standings behind only Sweet Home and Stayton and ahead of nine other schools. Although there were no individual district champions to automatically qualify for…

“That was awesome and I’m just going to do that again at state — that’s the plan,” a confident Hirte said following the Special District 4 Championships at Albany Community Pool.

Hirte broke the school record with a time of 57 seconds flat on Dec. 15 while swimming the event solo in a dual against Kennedy. Despite his final time at districts coming in at 55.95, Hirte finished runner-up behind Sisters senior Clayten Heuberer. As it turned out, Heuberer also had a memorable race by breaking the district meet record with a time of 54.75.

Only the champion earns an automatic trip to the state meet but the qualifying field is filled out by the next-best times from the four 4A/3A/2A/1A districts. Hirte’s 55.95 will get him to Beaverton.

Philomath’s Carrson Hirte, right, and Sisters’ Clayten Heuberer bump fists following the 100 backstroke. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Hirte will also likely qualify in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:07.07, which was also good for second place.

“It would have to be like a miracle for him not to go in the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke,” PHS coach Iliana Kaiser said.

Hirte would like to break the school record in the 200 IM as well — a standard set clear back in 1982 by Rex Watkins with a time of 2:05.10.

“Today, I put on a tech suit, which helped me go — at least it gave me the mental (confidence) that I can go a lot faster,” Hirte said. “In all my events, I just crushed what I expected that I was going to be able to do.”

Philomath High’s boys finished third in the team standings behind Marist Catholic and Sweet Home. Nine schools competed at the meet.

Kellen Houchin placed third in the 100 butterfly. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Warriors senior Kellen Houchin could be joining Hirte at state if his time of 1:05.27 in the 100 butterfly makes the cut.

“I’m going to be waiting anxiously for those results to get sent out,” said Kaiser, who is in her first year as head coach and second year with the program.

Houchin finished fifth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:10.90.

Philomath’s 200 medley relay placed third with Hirte, Houchin, freshman Cameron McLennan and junior Henry Katsikis and could have a shot at qualifying with its time of 1:54.70. The 400 freestyle relay with those same four swimmers is also in contention with a 3:58.90, which was good for fourth (the official results later moved Philomath up to third after disqualifying Cascade).

“They looked really good … They’re exactly where I wanted them to be comparing their time to last year,” Kaiser said.

Freshman Cameron McLennan swims to fourth in the 100 butterfly. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Other top six placewinners for PHS on Saturday included McLennan’s fourth in the 100 butterfly (1:09.39), junior Marshall Morrison’s fifth in the 500 freestyle (6:37.91) and Katsikis’s sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:15.91).

For Hirte, he’s not showing much emotion about his swim career wrapping up with the Warriors. He’s had a good run through his four years.

“I’m excited for what’s next,” Hirte said. “I’m probably never going to swim competitively again after this. I just gotta see what’s next.”

Brad Fuqua

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.