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Day: December 3, 2014

New Celtic swim coach a Valley League champ

Casey Lewin is the new head coach of McNary High School’s swimming programs. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Casey Lewin is the new head coach of McNary High School’s swimming programs. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Earlier this month, and for the first time in decades, McNary High School swimmers hit the water under the guidance of a new head coach.

Casey Lewin, a graduate of Sprague High School and swimming coach at Courthouse Fitness in south Salem, has been tapped to take the reins from longtime Celtic skipper Kim Phillips.

While Phillips won’t be around for practices and all the dual meets, she’s still an active part of the local high school swimming community, something Lewin is grateful for in more ways than one.

“Kim is an assistant coach with Mid-Valley Aquatics (a Salem-Albany club swimming organization) now, and we just had a big meeting with their representatives and the high school coaches. As a result, I think we’re going to be seeing a lot of the local talent sticking with the high school programs instead of disappearing into the ranks of club swimming,” Lewin said.

Lewin dealt with similar attrition in the Courthouse programs until he started a USA Club swim team earlier this year. He also saw it happen as an assistant coach at North Salem High School.

In addition to a new coach, the Celtic swimmers will also have to worry less about funding as the sport has been added back into the Salem-Keizer School District budgets. It comes as the league is expanding to include three additional teams, McMinnville, Forest Grove and West Albany High Schools.

“McMinnville is strong and they’ll probably have 70 or 80 kids in the pool. The boys were at state last year and took third overall,” Lewin said. “A team like that is going to push everyone else and its going to make the whole conference faster.”

McNary is slated to travel to meet all three of the new opponents, but Lewin hopes it will cut down on excuses when the team is called to other pools than Salem’s Kroc Center.

“It actually works out really well for us because we face McMinnville in the last dual meet and then we’ll go back there a week and a half later for the district meet,” Lewin said.

The Celtics will travel to meet their first opponents, Forest Grove Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Forest Grove Aquatic Center.

Lewin said the team drew about 50 students in its first week of regular practices, which is on par with last year’s turnout.

“We only have about a half dozen seniors, but a large group of freshmen and that’s good for the future of the program,” he said. “There’s also a good balance of talent in different races, but we could always use more distance sprinters.”

During his high school swimming days, Lewin was a district champ in the 1,500 freestyle. Lewin said his approach is more focused on long-term goals than short-term outcomes.

“I do want us to win dual meets, but I also know those meets are when we can be taking chances and making technique changes that will benefit us when the district meet comes around,” he said. “The process we take to get to that meet is important and we’re not going to get freaked out when someone has a bad day. We’ll focus on our plan.”

Christmas concert at city hall Dec. 17

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

There are plenty of events around the Keizer area to get one into the Christmas spirit.

Tops on that list would be the annual Christmas tree lighting next Tuesday, Dec. 2 at Walery Plaza as well as the Dec. 13 Festival of Lights Holiday Parade.

Looking for an event that’s inside, in case the weather outside turns frightful?

In that case, come to the Keizer Civic Center at 930 Chemawa Road NE on Wednesday, Dec. 17 from 6 to 9 p.m. for the Keizer Community Band’s Christmas Concert.

Michael Koenig, KCB director since 2003, appeared at the Nov. 17 Keizer City Council meeting to request a waiver of rental fees for a room at city hall for the free concert.

Councilor Marlene Quinn made a motion to waive all fees except for a refundable deposit of $380.

“This is a free concert,” Quinn said. “Unlike some other functions, they are not charging a fee and there’s no food or alcohol.”

Councilors unanimously approved the motion.

Mayor Lore Christopher turned to Koenig following the approval.

“Let’s have a Christmas concert, Mr. Koenig,” Christopher said.

The band is made up of about 50 community members and a crowd of 50 people is expected for the event, which will be held in the Iris B room.

Since being formed in 1998 by Roy Shelton at the request of then-Keizer Mayor Bob Newton, the KCB has performed at events such as the Christmas tree lighting, the Iris Festival, RIVERfair at Keizer Rapids Park, Salvation Army Kroc Center events and more.

In other recent council business:

• Most fees were also waived for the Pinot for the Parks fundraising event on March 13, 2015 from 6 to 9 p.m. at city hall. The Keizer Parks Foundation (KPF) is putting on the third annual event.

In 2013 and 2014, the city waived all rental fees, staffing fees and deposits for the event, with the KPF paying only for the security and complying with all insurance and alcohol service requirements. This year’s proceeds from the event – which cost $25 a ticket – led to a $10,000 donation from the KPF to the Big Toy project at Keizer Rapids Park.

As in the first two years, the 2015 event will include complimentary wine tasting from local wineries in addition to wine being available for sale by the glass or bottle. Small plates of food by local caterers will also be offered for sale. Some of the plates will be offered by McNary High School Culinary Arts students, while MHS orchestra students will again be providing live music.

“All proceeds come back to Keizer,” noted Keizer city manager Chris Eppley.

For this year’s event, the city provided security which the KPF reimbursed at $20 an hour for. Councilors unanimously approved the same arrangement for the 2015 event, with the KPF to pay a $60 security fee but all other fees being waived.

• Mary Lucas and Kim Larson spoke about the third annual CrossWalk of Salem event taking place at Salem Riverfront Park at 10 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

Larson, with the Marion County District Attorney’s Office, spoke to councilors in October about domestic violence, noted CrossWalk helps such programs provided by the DA office.

“Mary Lucas is the founder of this event that has benefitted our program the last two years,” Larson said. “It’s been an incredible blessing.”

Lucas went for a walk at Riverfront Park on New Year’s Day in 2011 when she was attacked by a sex offender who later admitted it was his intent that morning to rape and murder a woman. Lucas was saved by three men before she was that victim.

“It’s great to be part of a group that embraces what we do,” Lucas said. “I’m here to ask you to come join us. I see this as someday being our race for the cure. We deserve that and the people we support deserve that. I give God the glory. My life was saved.”