By Ben • Ben Schorzman • 

Grizzlies host conference swim meet this weekend

“We don’t have to ride on the bus,” he said. “We come in and warm up early and then the kids can go home and eat and rest and stay in a comfortable place for a while instead of being at the pool and getting nervous. That’s definitely nice and definitely an advantage.”

Preliminary heats for the varsity and all final heats for the junior varsity run today, approximately from 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The varsity finals start at 2 p.m. Saturday and should be done by 6 p.m., Hafner said. Admission is $4 for students and $6 for adults.

The Grizzlies are primed for the conference meet. The boys team finished the dual meet season undefeated, and the girls lost once to Tualatin. For Mac, getting as many swimmers as it can into the top 16 slots that make the finals will be crucial, Hafner said. There is a top-eight championship finals race and a bottom-eight consolation finals race. Each spot 1 through 16 scores, and the more points garnered in the consolation finals will put Mac over the top on the boys side with a chance to win its sixth consecutive conference championship.

The Mac girls team has won at least the past two conference championships.

“Those kids who are on the bubble and who can get into the consolation finals is big,” Hafner said. “That can often times be the difference of winning the meet.”

For the boys, McMinnville is the favorite, but Hafner said teams like Newberg, Glencoe and Forest Grove could take enough points away to bring the Grizzlies close to the pack.

“Still, if we have a solid showing, we can repeat on the boys side,” Hafner said.

Hafner was less sure about the girls competition. Tualatin won the dual meet season, and Newberg was third behind the Grizzlies.

“(Tualatin) will definitely be the favorites,” he said. “We’ll give them a shot, but they’re the favorites.”

“If we’re going to get by Newberg and stay close to Tualatin,” Hafner said, “it will be our depth and us getting as many girls as we can into the consolation finals that will do it.”

Mac has fostered its depth all season, and that could be a factor to its success over the next two days. Swimmers like Tristan Versteeg and Jacob Porter on the boys side and Erika Sato on the girls side are all state returners and have the experience.

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