Youth shall be served in the water this year for the Astoria swim program, which will have to replace a lot of points with the graduation of Meredith Barnes, Bridget Nurding, Eddy Duret, Dustin Manley and Jared Rummell, etc.

The Fishermen are at least on the right track, with a host of new swimmers turning out for the 2008-09 season.

"It's hard to lose Bridget, Meredith and Eddy," among others, said Astoria coach Carla Oja. "We are definitely at a point where we're trying to rebuild the team. But we had smiles on our faces when we saw who was coming out - a lot of natural talent and teachability there."

The "guppy lanes" had some heavy traffic in early-season practices, as a large part of the Astoria roster features freshmen and sophomores.

"Twenty-three are new to the team, out of 39 or 40 kids," said coach Paul Gascoigne. "There's only a small handful who have varsity experience."

THE OUTLOOKThe Astoria swim program always seems to find a way to replace talent with talent. And of course, there's always the returning talent.

The experienced group for the girls includes seniors Erica Johnson, Clara Weidman and Hannah Whisler; while juniors Malysa Baxter and Eva Miehe should figure in the point scoring.

Niquelle Baxter is an up-and-coming freshman, while senior Katie Bogh and sophomore Nicole Bogh both add depth to the lineup.

"The Baxter sisters should do well," Oja said. "And the Bogh girls have good potential. They were both new last year, but have shown some good promise."

Elsewhere, "We have Shelby Coggins, who was our Most Improved swimmer last year; and Eva Miehe is back after missing last season."

The Astoria boys have the tough task of replacing Duret, the district champ in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle events.

Finding a long-distance swimmer will be one of the tasks for the coaching staff.

"That's just something that evolves," Oja said. "You see the potential, then we give them an opportunity, and sometimes there's some great surprises there. You have to look at the body type and how they do their strokes."

Manley was Astoria's only point-scorer in the state meet.

Even with the loss of talent to graduation, Astoria has capable swimmers in Brian Perez, Daniel Perry and Jon Sprouse, as well as Nick Agalzoff.

In addition, "Eric Mathre is a brand-new swimmer, and I've been real pleased with him," she said. "Then we have a lot of new ones who we don't know where they'll place right now, but we're hopeful."

THE LEAGUEThe old saying "You're the champs until someone knocks you off," is actually true this year in the District 1/4A swimming.

The team champions from 2007-08 - the Seaside girls and Tillamook boys - are the favorites again.

The Fishermen will still have their share of victories, and will be competitive in the team standings come districts.

THE SWIMMERS"We have a ton of sophomores and freshmen, and not very many juniors," Oja said. "We had a good turnout of underclassmen. A lot of the swimmers are just new to swimming. That was a big surprise to see so many new people coming in."

Boys

Nick Agalzoff, So.

Dylan Clodgo, So.

Todd Cooper, So.

Kyle Gascoigne, Sr.

Jacob Golden, Jr.

Evan Knight, So.

Eric Mathre, So.

John McGrath, So.

Brett Perez, Fr.

Brian Perez, Sr.

Daniel Perry, So.

Avery Peterson, Jr.

Kiran Rane, Ex.

Thornton Rice, So.

Derrick Snow, Sr.

Jon Sprouse, So.

Corbin Thornburg, Fr.

Riley Vanhorn, So.

David Woltjer, So.

John Zhen, Sr.

Girls

Rebecca Alfaro, So.

Karley Basel, Fr.

Malysa Baxter, Jr.

Niquelle Baxter, Fr.

Julia Bingman, So.

Katie Bogh, Sr.

Nicole Bogh, So.

Shelby Coggins, So.

Erica Johnson, Sr.

Haley Larson, So.

Eva Miehe, Jr.

Chelsey Olson, So.

Angela Padgett, Fr.

Savannah Scheel, So.

Clara Weidman, Sr.

Hannah Whisler, Sr.

Nicole Wirkkala, So.

Janessa Wright, Fr.

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