Groves gets first solo district title in 50 free

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Celt Sloane Yerger competes in the 100 butterfly at the district swim meet. Yerger narrowly missed the cutoff for state races in the 100 breast, but will be part of a 200 free relay team in the state competition. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Celt Sloane Yerger competes in the 100 butterfly at the district swim meet. Yerger narrowly missed the cutoff for state races in the 100 breast, but will be part of a 200 free relay team in the state competition. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

McNary High School’s Perry Groves was the sole district champion for the Celtics in the district swim meet Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15.

Groves turned in a blistering 22.14 time, a personal record, in the the prelims of the 50 free and gave up only a little time in his 22.31 final race to take the top spot in the league.

The title is Groves’ first in an individual event, and a long time in coming.

“It was a good feeling to get it this year. I had the fastest time in the prelims last year and then Ben Johnson beat me in the finals. The year before that I was second to a North Salem swimmer,” Groves said. “That first race was the best so far, but I’d like to get under 22. I think I’m capable of it.”

While Groves was the only event winner for the boys, the team managed a third place finish behind South Salem and West Salem high schools. It was buoyed by a number of second- and third-place finishes in other events.

Celts Collin Bedingfield, Tanner Hughes, Isaiah Holt and Kolton Vickers took fourth in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:57.01; Alex Fox took third in the 200 individual medley (IM) recording a time of 2:08.99; Sloane Yerger placed fourth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 59.10; Groves was .08 seconds too late to top the podium in the 100 free, but took second with a time of 49.89; Fox, Evan Alger, Yerger and Groves took second in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:34.14; and Fox, Hughes, Yerger and Groves took second in the 400 free relay in 3:30.28.

The Celtic boys had three top six finishers in the 100 breast: Yerger, third in 1:03.75; Fox, fifth in 1:06.47; and Hughes, sixth in 1:09.54.

Yerger just missed the state cutoff time in the 100 breaststroke, but still managed a personal record.

“It felt like a good day and I dropped about two seconds off the time,” Yerger said.

Groves, in the 50 free, and the 200 free relay team will make their final appearance this season in the state tournament at Mt. Hood Community College.

The Lady Celts best finish in the district tournament came early in the 200 medley relay. Anjelica Glassey, Kiana Briones, Josie Ellis and Emily Biondi took third in 2:10.32.

Other top six finishers for the girls were: Megan Paul, sixth in the 200 free with a time of 2:19.12 and 500 free in 6:15.73; Jewel Boyd, sixth in the 100 free in 1:04.1; Boyd, Ellis, Pearl Prinslow and Biondi, fourth in the 200 free relay in 1:57.11; Glassey, fourth in the 100 backstroke in 1:10.17; Prinslow, fifth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:20.76; and Samantha Williams, Boyd. Glassey and Briones, fourth in the 400 free relay in 4:17.85.

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