Championship Update

Gary Roberson
Aug 9, 2019

Over the last several weeks, we have been in the heart of championship season. The 10&Unders started us off with their state championship meet (highlights in a separate news update) and the 11&overs have been continuing right where they left off. Below are some highlights from the weeks since.


First up on the highlight reel is the 11&Over Oregon Swimming State Championships. As a team, we had one of our highest finishes ever, taking home 3rd place overall. That finish was 6 spots higher than last year’s finish. The team scored 605.5 points which was over 400 points more than we scored in 2018. Both the men’s and women’s teams scored about 200 points more than last year with the women up-ing their score from 28 points in 2018 to 230 points this year.


Among the highlights from the competition were individual state champions, relay state champions, new team records, a new state record and some breakout performances.


Nate Steiner won 5 of his 6 events to earn his second consecutive high point award for his age group. Ryan Wang earned his first ever state championship by beating the competition in the 11-13 year old boys 800m free. Mason Leach won the 11-13 boys 200m breaststroke by pulling away from the competition in a blistering time of 2:38.94. That time was also his first senior sectional cut. For the women, Jamie Llamas won the 200m butterfly in an exciting race that came down to the final few strokes.


The 11-12 year old boys 200m and 400m freestyle relays earned state championships with their performances. Those relays were made up of Nate Steiner, Luke Eskola, Matthew So and Mason Wilson. Those performances also set new team records with times of 2:00.27 in the 200 and 4:26.83 in the 400. The same group of boys also lowered the 200m medley relay team record with a new mark of 2:15.45.


The 15&over men’s relay team of Max Woodbury, Brett Champlin, Ethan Heasley and Luke Thornbrue took first in the state in the 200m medley relay and did so with a new state record time of 1:44.03.


Several other HEAT swimmers placed in the top 3 in one or more of their events. Those swimmers were Sydney McDonald, Rowan Murphy, Elsie Pagel, Natalie Kingsbury, Zach Frey, David Kraske and Elizabeth McLin. Elizabeth McLin earned those spots in very exciting fashion. In seasons past, she has come within fractions of a second of qualifying for state but had always been just off the standard. But she never let those disappointments get to her. She stayed focused with her training and finally had huge breakthroughs this season. She picked up her qualifying times and not only competed at state for the first time ever, but placed 3rd in both her 100m and 200m breaststroke swims. For all you swimmers that have ever experienced disappointment (and all swimmers will), let that be a motivator for you. Stay focused, work hard and never give up on your goals and you will find a way to break through.


In all, 27 swimmers contributed to the HEAT’s score at state - including a handful of swimmers that scored points for the first time ever - but it was a total team effort that helped us climb as far as we did at the meet.


In the weeks since the state championship meet, there has been some more exciting news around the HEAT swimming family. Nate Steiner and Mason Leach both qualified and made the cut for the Oregon Zone Team. Those two boys have been representing the HEAT and the state of Oregon this week as they compete against the top 11-14 year olds from the western US.


Luke Thornbrue, Ethan Heasley and Brett Champlin have also had exciting swims around the country with each swimmer gaining at least one Olympic Trials cut. Luke Thornbrue qualified in the 200 free, Ethan Heasley in the 100 fly and 400 IM, and Brett Champlin in the 100 breaststroke. Way to represent boys and congratulations to you all!


For the final hurrah of the season, a big contingent of swimmers are down in Bend to compete one last time before we take a break for the month. It has been an exciting and accomplished season for the HEAT. Enjoy your break and come back motivated, ready to reach high and work hard. This news update provides the proof that there are great things happening in Hillsboro. Let that be a motivator to you. With the right attitude, grit and persistence big dreams can become realities.