By Jeremy McDonald
ALBANY, Ore.– Stayton and Cascade swimming has a special bond that goes deeper than the rivalry.
Like many of the sports when they meet up against one another, they are like relatives and wanting to beat each other while being friendly after the game about it.
This season, both the Cougars and Eagles swim teams have been sharing the same pool and interacting with one another in passing between each team’s practices.
In several races, like the 100 girls butterfly Championship race, Cascade and Stayton found themselves racing one another with the Lady Eagles Megan Mak and the Lady Cougars Min Wei.
“It was awesome because she’s an awesome swimmer and I’m just proud of her because our teams are pretty close, it’s really cool to see that she’s going to State,” said Stayton’s Mak on Wei as she got to race next to her again.
As Wei and Salem Academy’s Trinity Pierce were pulling away from the field, Mak took third in the race with a 1:06.37.
“I’m actually really happy with my time because I went from a 1:10 to a 1:07 and now a 1:06, so now I’m just feel accomplished and I feel good,” said Mak who finished third in the 100 meter butterfly with Eagle teammate Sydney Maruer fifth with a 38.85 time.
For her senior year, Mak wants to start earlier to try to get a leg up on the competition and improve for her final go-around.
“I want and try to start early, maybe in the summer and join club or something,” said Mak, who qualified for State for the Fly. “I want to start really soon so I’m ready for the swim season.”
One spot in front of Mak, who went neck-and-neck with Salem Academy’s Trinity Pierce for the District Title, was Wei. One moment, the senior had the lead and the next the Lady Crusader junior had the lead.
Pierce admitted that Wei pushed her to be better as Pierce barely beat Wei by 0.03 of a second with a winning time of 34.08.
“It was very intense,” said Wei who qualified for the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke races. “It can definitely prepare me because I know Trinity was right beside me and I can feel that intensity.
Stayton team of Chris Linton, Eric Seitz, Josh Ptacek and Tanner Fixsen was fifth with a time of 1:54.67. Stayton’s 200 yd Freestyle team of Hannah Mitzel, Megan Mak, Kylie Mannix and Sydney Maurer finished fourth with a time of 1:53.87 as the team qualified for State. Cascade’s team of Allya Sierra, Chole Lone Elk, Shelby Devillers and Wei finished fifth with a time of 1:57.64 in the 200 yard freestyle.
The Cascade relay team of Sierra, Lone Elk, Devillers and Wei too finished fourth in the 200 yard Medley Relay with a time of 2:08.52 and will be competing in the State race.
The Lady Eagles team of Mitzel, Make, Mannix and Maurer finished fifth in the 400 yard freestyle with a time of 4:14.04 that too qualified for State.
The Lady Cougars Lone Elk was also fifth in the 100 backstroke 1:11.20 and third in 200 yard IM (2:33.12). The Eagles Sietz finished second in the 100 yard breaststroke and fourth in the 100 yard freestyle as Sietz qualified for State in the 100 breaststroke. Chris Linton’s endurance was shown in the 500 yard freestyle as finished third in the Championship race and qualified for State.