Celtics have nearly 80 kids out for the team this year
By Matt Rawlings
Of the Keizertimes
From a results standpoint, the McNary swim team wasn’t anything to write home about last season — the boys team placed sixth at districts while the girls squad took seventh.
But the biggest encouragement for this program is how many kids are joining the team.
After having 54 kids in their program last year, the Celtics now have 74 athletes that came out for the swim team this year.
With all those numbers, the future of this program as a whole is looking very bright.
“It’s been great having these big numbers. We’re almost up to 80 kids this year,” McNary head coach Casey Lewin said. “Our last two freshman classes have been huge and we have done a good job of retaining those kids. We’re getting a lot of kids out and they’re staying out.”
The Mountain Valley Conference — formally known as the the Greater Valley Conference — will look a little bit different this season with Mountain View, Summit and Bend entering the league while North Salem, West Albany, Forest Grove and McMinnville exited the league over the summer.
But instead of worrying about the new competition, Lewin wants his kids to focus more on their personal improvement and development.
“Our main focus on the boys side and on the girls side is coming to practice every day to get better and to just take care of ourselves,” Lewin said. “If we’re able to do that, hopefully our times will reflect the work that we put in and the placement will take care of itself.”
While they don’t return anyone that qualified for the state meet last season, the Celtics have key returners on both teams that should have a huge impact for them in the pool.
On the boys side, junior Kyle Hooper is the top returning swimmer in the program. At the GVC District Meet last season, Hooper finished third in the 500-yard freestyle and fourth in the 200 individual medley. He has a realistic shot to make it to the state meet this season.
Senior Harrison Vaughn is the other top returner for McNary. Vaughn Took fifth in the 500-free at districts last season. He will likely be one of the more versatile swimmers in the league as he will also compete in the 100-breaststroke, 200-free, 200-IM as well as others.
Seniors Wyatt Sherwood and Jabez Rhoades will be the short-distance guys for the McNary boys.
“I would like to see us score more points than we did last year at the district meet,” Lewin said of his boys team. “We don’t quite have the firepower to win a league title, but if we can score more and place higher, it shows that we’re doing something right.”
For the girls squad, sophomore twin sisters Alexandria and Isabella Beard look to be the top returners for the Celtics in a multitude of events. Both girls will swim the 500-free, 200-free, 200-IM as well as a handful of races in the breaststroke and butterfly.
Junior Alyssa Garvey looks to be the top girl in the sprint races for the Celtics.
Lewin also expects freshman newcomers Paris Boyd and Kaylynn Villalobos to make a difference for this team immediately.
“I would love us to finish higher than we did last year, and with some of the additions we have, I think we’ll have enough points to get up there,” Lewin said of the girls squad.