By Ben • Ben Schorzman • 

With freshly shaved legs, swimmers go to state

Preliminary rounds are from 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. tonight, and the championship finals are from 5:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Saturday.

The Grizzlies are ready to swim fast after holding back some at the Pacific Conference championships, which were last week in McMinnville. Coach Jason Hafner said Jacob Porter, Tristan Versteeg and Graham Shaw entered the district meet with a plan to just qualify for state while reserving something.

“They weren’t fully rested,” he said. “They hadn’t shaved … This is the meet they’ve been looking at. They can go faster.”

Porter is entered in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle. He is the fifth seed in the 100 and seventh in the 200. Versteeg also qualified for two events. He will compete in the 100 free as well and is seeded third. He also made it in the 100 backstroke, which he is seeded fourth in.

Shaw is seeded ninth in the 50 free.

Porter explained some of the strategy behind holding back at districts. He said Versteeg and himself had swum state-qualifying times in drag suits in practice. They knew they could make it through to state and then put everything they have into this weekend. They decided not to shave their legs until Thursday, and Porter also said he has a new “fast suit” he’s going to wear today and Saturday.

“There’s a lot of strategy,” Porter said. “My goal is to move up in all of my events.”

Hafner said there’s no doubt his swimmers can also shave time.

“They are both capable of dropping time,” Hafner said. “They’re high enough caliber to not swim fast and still make it to state and come in 100 percent rested and ready to go.”

Porter and Versteeg competed last year at the state meet when the Grizzlies finished second behind Sunset in the team scoring. That experience, Hafner said, will help them this year.

“It’s a fast meet,” he said. “The experience of being here before and having success is big for confidence.”

Versteeg said he has specific goals for his races, and the confidence of swimming last year at state is helping.

“I want to finish third or higher,” he said. “I don’t want to finish lower than that.”

Versteeg, Porter and Shaw will also compete in the 200 and 400 freestyle relay events with teammate Owen Binkerd. Mac won the 200 freestyle last year at state.

For the girls, no individuals qualified for state, but the Grizzlies made it as wildcard teams in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Mac’s 200 relay is seeded 11th, and the 400 freestyle relay is seeded 10th. The top 12 make it to either the consolation finals or the championship finals.

“If they can hold or be faster,” Hafner said, “There’s a good shot of getting a second swim.

“That’s the goal with them.”

Shaw’s event, will be over the quickest. The shortest event in the meet, the 50 free is sprint that turns the pool into a swirling mass of white water and flailing limbs.

“I’m confident Graham is going to swim well,” Hafner said. “It’s an exciting race. Quick and fast. The entire field is close. Usually 0.4 separates everyone.

Hafner said just like how the boys swimmers took a bit of the pressure off at districts, so did the two girls relay teams. They weren’t as aggressive with their exchanges, opting to be careful and not get disqualified. This week Mac has worked on tightening up the rotations and streamlining the touches.

“Now that they’re at state,” Hafner said, “We can be a bit more aggressive this weekend. There’s nothing else to lose, so even the girls can cut time off.”

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