Hood River Valley’s 2021 boys district championship swim team was built on depth and determination, and the Eagles will need a heavy dose of both if they are to repeat that accomplishment this season.
The Eagles had a district semi-preview race last week, when Redmond and Ridgeview high schools came to town for a three-way meet. Redmond had won the boys 2019 and 2020 district championships and finished second to HRV last spring. On Jan. 20, the Panthers served notice that they deserve to be prominent in the championship conversation once again when the Intermountain Conference swimmers gather at Hood River Aquatics Center next month.
The Redmond boys edged HRV, 85-78, in a dual meet by winning six of eight individual events and two of three relays. Hood River had one individual winner in Gavin Hackett, who clocked 1 minute, 8.69 seconds in the 100-meter butterfly. Hackett, the defending district champion in the butterfly, also anchored HRV’s first place 400 freestyle relay in 4:20.61. Jackson Bullock, Elijah Adams and Kaitaro Hawkins teamed with Hackett in the meet’s final race.
Redmond was led by Ryan Konop, Colin Haywood, and Dylan Hall, who each won two individual events for the Panthers. Konop won the 50 and 100 freestyle races, the events he won at last year’s district meet. Haywood is the defending champ in the 100 backstroke, which he won last week.
Hall and HRV’s Lucas Elliott locked up in one of the more competitive races of the meet, the 100 breaststroke. Hall won the race, 1:20.34 to 1:21.85. They finished in the same positions in the 200 individual medley, as well.
The Hood River Valley girls, runners-up at last season’s district finals to Pendleton, won their dual against Redmond, 96-63. The Eagles were led by double winners Sarah Arpag and Emma Titus, and Michelle Graves, who won the 100 butterfly in 1:20.77. Arpag won the 200 individual medley in 2:33.29 and the 100 backstroke in 1:12.19. Titus won the 200 freestyle in 2:23.69 and later the 100 freestyle in 1:03.82.