By MATT RAWLINGS
Of the Keizertimes
Early into the Mountain Valley Conference season, it’s clear that the McNary High School swim team is a force to be reckoned with.
The Celtics swept their dual meet for the second straight week with West Salem being the victim this time around. McNary’s boys squad took down the Titans by a score of 103-47 while the girls team came out on top with a 83-72 win on Thursday, Dec. 13 at the Kroc Center.
Even though both victories were impressive, McNary head coach Casey Lewin was more pumped about the win for the girls — especially since they were without one of their top swimmers in Alyssa Garvey, who is currently rehabbing an injury.
“It was a big accomplishment. They were so excited to win because West (Salem) is a really strong program, especially on the girls side,” Lewin said. “We know how good West is, so to come out and get a win when we’re not at full strength was huge.”
With Garvey out of the lineup, a pair of freshmen were able to step up in her absence.
McNary’s Kaylynn Villalobos knocked off the higher-seeded Callie Luth from West Salem in the 50-yard freestyle with a winning time of 27.63. Villalobos was also victorious in the 100-backstroke (1:09.01).
The Celtics other freshman star, Paris Boyd, won the 100-breaststroke by more than 10 seconds (1:16.21).
Both swimmers also played big roles in McNary’s victory in the 200-individual medley relay.
“It’s awesome having freshmen be so successful because they’re only going to get stronger and faster,” Casey said. “And having young talent like that helps motivate the other kids as well. They see where the bar is at and it makes everyone better.”
Alex Beard was the other individual winner for the McNary girls with her win in the 200-IM (2:22.12).
On the boys side, it would have been difficult for McNary to dominate more than they did. The Celtics won 10 of the 11 varsity races and only surrendered a defeat in the 200-free.
“It’s not just a small handful of guys that are swimming well right now. It’s a total team effort,” Lewin said about the success of the boys team.
McNary’s Kyle Hooper easily won both the 200-IM (2:10.69) and the 100-butterfly (1:00.72). Harrison Vaughn was the first-place finisher in 500-free (5:19.69) and the 100-breast (1:10.58) for the Celtics.
Along with Hooper and Vaughn, Jabez Rhoades also won a pair of events in this meet. Rhoades finished first in the 50-free (24.95) and the 100-free (57.74) and swam some of the best times of his career.
“I just came out and swam fast,” Rhoades said. “That was the fastest I’ve ever swam in a race that wasn’t at districts.”
Jackson McCarthy rounded out McNary’s individual victories with his first-place finish in the 100-back.