Chauvin’s mettle: qualify or not, senior goes out a winner
In McMinnville’s senior day tune-up against McKay last week, senior Celina Chauvin had a strong closing 50-yard freestyle swim in the girls’ 200-yard individual medley race, finishing second overall. Chauvin, who has been swimming since she was six year old, said of the race, “I did not drop that much time, but it just felt really good – physically. I wasn’t as tired as I u and I felt like swimming hard through the whole race.
“Normally the butterfly (the first stroke of the medley) always kills me. The butterfly felt really good – and went harder in it but I did not feel as tired as I normally do. Usually I am dead by the freestyle, so it felt good, as I didn’t feel as exhausted as I normally do – and I dropped time – so that was good,” she said.
Chauvin who will also swim in the grueling 500-yard freestyle event, said, “I am not the fastest at anything, but I can swim all of the strokes,” which is one of the reasons she swims the IM.
While she had taken a break from swimming last season, she notes, “Before the season started I wasn’t sure if I was going to swim this year. The team captains talked me into coming out for the team. Now that I am here, I’m glad I did. The team has helped me keep going,” she said.
Chauvin finds the swim team a great asset to her as she notes, “I have a pretty full plate.”
That plate includes working at the aquatic center 10-15 hours a week teaching swimming (to nine year-olds and also four and five year old children), a full high school schedule, and working towards her associate degree at Chemeketa. She expects, when she graduates from high school in June, she will also have earned her AA degree.
In the 500 freestyle against McKay she finished third and offers there is great carry over from swimming to life in general.
“The 500 taught me to keep going. Even though it is hard, and it sucks, and you are tired – keep going and you will get to the end,” she added.
In the meet against McKay, McMinnville dominated a team whose program is still developing, winning every event but two. The meet served as an opportunity for Grizzly head coach Jason Hafner to tinker with line ups for the district meet, particularly in the relays. It also gave a number of younger members of the team a chance to get their feet wet in a varsity meet.
The Grizzlies won handily as a team. The girls team took a 129-40 win while the boys similarly won by a 128-37 score.
Highlights from the girls meet included the 50-yard freestyle where the Grizzlies had a one-two-three finish. Mari Sato won with a 26.26 time. Rosie Porter was second at 26. 67, and Sydney Stern was third with a 26.80 posting. The girls’ team was first and second, at least, in each relay race. They took the 200-yard medley relay, and swept the top three places in the 200-yard freestyle relay. They also had a one-two finish in the 400-yard freestyle event.
On the boys’ side of the ledger, the results were similar. A highlight swim was an exhibition race between three of the top freestylers on the team in a 200-yard race. Levi Burres was the winner in a 1:50.41 time while Hunter Harris and Garrett Sutton battled for the second place finish. Harris out-touched Garrett by .02 of a second with a 1:43.83 time.
The boys’ team also swept the relay events. They were first and second in the 200 medley relay, first and second in the 200 freestyle relay, and first and second in the 400 freestyle relay.
As Chauvin’s competitive career winds down, she looks forward to becoming a teacher. She has completed three years of French, is currently learning Spanish, and hope to pick up a third language in the future. She has been accepted to the University of Oregon.
It has been a long and winding road, as the song lyrics go, for Chauvin. She started swimming at the behest of her father, whose father drowned in a boating accident. He wanted to make sure his children all knew how to swim – and they all started at a young age. Chauvin has a lone sunflower tattoo on her left shoulder. She said the sunflower is a homage to her dad, who grows sunflowers in the family garden.
“Even though my mom and dad are not too keen for the tattoo, it is something that I have always wanted. And it reminds me of my dad. Since when I was little, I use to work with him in the garden on the sunflowers,” she said. In some ways, it is as if her dad is with her on every practice lap, on every start, and in every lap of every race.
Today (Friday) may be the last time Chauvin stands on the starting blocks for the Grizzly team. She, like so many other Mac swimmers, will swim in the prelims looking to qualify for Saturday’s finals in the nine-team Coast Valley district meet, from which the top two swimmers will move on to state (along with any swimmer who has met the minimum qualifying time).
She knows she will have to swim her best to qualify for a slot in the finals in either of her two events. The reality is, regardless of where Chauvin finishes, Friday or Saturday, finishes as a winner.