North Coast swimmers made a definite splash in the pool Saturday in the finals of the District 1/4A swim meet at the Astoria Aquatic Center.
The Tillamook girls and Newport boys scored the team championships, while Astoria and Seaside will both send a handful of swimmers to the state meet, Friday and Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College.
Seaside recovered from a rough preliminary round Friday, bouncing back with junior Josh Shipley winning a pair of individual district titles in Saturday’s finals.
The Astoria boys finished third in the team standings behind Newport and Scappoose, but missed out on any state qualifying marks.
Meanwhile, the Lady Fishermen placed fourth, while setting three school records Saturday and qualifying two individuals (in three events) and two relay squads for state.
Athletes from Astoria and Seaside won three events in Saturday’s finals — not bad, considering how tough the district is, said Gulls’ coach Shane Spell.
“It is a tough district,” Spell said. “It is loaded. And it’s good to challenge yourself. If you’re not racing big teams, then you’re not improving. There’s plenty of opportunity available for that in this district.”
He added, “(Friday) was a rough day for us, but they came back today with solid swims. It’s a young team in a big meet, and we came back well. I think back to our very first practice, and we have come such a long, long way.”
The Astoria girls showed off their bright future, with freshmen Tori Smith and Grace Peeler both qualifying for state individually and on two relay teams.
The Lady Fish opened with a second-place showing in the 200-yard individual medley relay, as Smith and Peeler teamed with seniors Megan Schacher and Jazzy King to swim a school record 2 minutes, 1.83 seconds (dropping 12 seconds off their preliminary time) to finish behind Tillamook.
The same foursome set another school record with a third-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay, 1:49.13, good enough to qualify for state. Both relay school records had been held since 2005.
Smith won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:21.67. She was also a wild card state qualifier in the 100-yard backstroke, taking third in a school record 1:04.13, breaking a mark held by Melissa Nygaard since 2000.
Peeler qualified individually in the 200-yard freestyle, taking second in 2:11.91.
For the Astoria boys, freshman Davis Wingard was third in the 200 individual medley and fourth in the breaststroke, adding team points but missing on state qualifying marks.
Shipley was the highlight of Seaside’s day.
He began with a win in the 50-yard freestyle, in a personal best 22.77 seconds. Shipley added another victory later in the day, swimming a personal best 1:02.31 in winning the 100-yard breaststroke.
He also swam a leg on Seaside’s state qualifying 200 freestyle relay squad, teaming with Isaiah Collins, Dawson Blanchard and Henry Garvin for a third-place finish (1:40.12).
In the state meet, Shipley will be the fourth seed in the 50 freestyle, and he will be the No. 2 seed in the breaststroke.
“Josh broke two Cowapa League meet records last week,” Spell said. “He didn’t break any records today, but they were really fast times.”