The Philomath High School boys and girls swim teams both put together exceptional team performances Wednesday in a dual sweep over Salem Academy at Clemens Community Pool.
“We are starting to see the hard work in practices pay off,” PHS coach Daniel Mikula said. “The kids are getting hungry to race and are showing more and more spark at the end of their races.”
A moment after the meet’s conclusion stuck with Mikula.
“I was the proudest coach today when members of the other team came over to congratulate our team and to share that they were so impressed with our team spirit and sportsmanship,” he said. “Swimming is one thing but representing Philomath with heart and grace is a huge victory in my book. Proud to be a Warrior tonight.”
In the pool, the boys won eight of the 10 events that were staged (there were no entrants by either school in the 500 freestyle). Philomath scored 82 to Salem Academy’s 39 in the team race.
The most exciting event of the afternoon in terms of being close occurred in the 100-yard backstroke with senior Braedon Littrell touching the wall first to get the victory over Salem Academy’s David Riggs by just .22 of a second. Littrell’s time came in at 1:27.41.
Junior Carrson Hirte was unchallenged in the dual in his individual events — literally in the 200 freestyle as the lone swimmer (2:02.15). In the 100 freestyle, Hirte took first by more than 11 seconds with four others in the event. In fact, the Warriors had a 1-2-3 finish in the 100 free with Hirte, sophomore Henry Katsikis and Littrell.
Junior Kellen Houchin got a win in the 100 breaststroke (1:16.66) by more than 4 seconds over the second-place swimmer in an event that featured five entries. Houchin had earlier breezed to victory in the 100 butterfly (1:12.68) by a margin of about 41 seconds.
The 200 medley relay with Hirte, Matthews, Houchin and Littrell beat Salem Academy’s foursome by more than 16 seconds (2:28.81). The 200 freestyle relay with Katsikis, sophomore Marshall Morrison, freshman Emmitt Gaskey and Littrell came in with a 2:03.69, beating Salem Academy by 5.44 seconds. The 400 freestyle relay of Houchin, Matthews, Katsikis and Hirte swam unchallenged (4:14.15).
The girls won seven of the 11 events — four in individual races and all three relays. Philomath finished with a 96-36 advantage with team points.
Freshman Kyah Weeber was tops in a field of nine swimmers that competed in the 100 freestyle. Weeber came in with a time of 1:10.40 to take first place by just over 1 second. The Warriors were 1-2-3-4-5 in this event with Weeber, junior Allison Neelands, sophomore Madison Juhl, junior Grace Bennett and freshman Abilyn Mahoney.
Neelands took first in the 200 freestyle by nearly 10 seconds over the runner-up (2:40.69). Junior Katherine Holden swam alone in the 100 butterfly and touched in 1:33.91. Junior Emma Holden was also a lone entry in one of her events, the 500 freestyle, which she finished in 7:37.72.
The 200 medley relay of senior Ophelia Katsikis, Weeber, Katherine Holden and Neelands covered the distance in 2:28.81 — a win of more than 7 seconds over Salem Academy. The 200 freestyle relay of Emma Holden, Juhl, Weeber and Neelands won by 3.46 seconds over Salem Academy in 2:07.94. The Warriors had A and B teams swimming in the 400 freestyle relay with no entry from the visitors. Bennett, senior Emery Boutilier, Katherine Holden and senior Kaeleigh Houchin had a time of 5:21.56.
Philomath is scheduled to host another dual — it’s fourth in nine days — at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The team then takes a major break from competition until a Jan. 6 dual against Crescent Valley.
Wednesday, Dec. 15, at Clemens Community Pool, Philomath HS BOYS Philomath 82, Salem Academy 39 Winners & PHS Results