It was slightly drier and a lot warmer inside than it was outside Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Astoria Aquatic Center, as the Astoria Fish swim team hosted their annual Andrew Nygaard Invitational meet.
“I’m just glad we’re inside and not traveling today,” Astoria coach Amy Emmett said, at the conclusion of the meet that honors the memory of Andrew Nygaard, the young Astoria swimmer who died in 1998 at age 15.
It was doubly nice for Emmett, whose team swept “Andrew’s Meet” for the first time in years.
The Fishermen finished first in the team standings for both the boys and girls. Tillamook could not attend the meet because of poor road conditions, so the meet turned out to be a three-way between Astoria, Seaside and Rainier.
In addition, the competing schools were missing some athletes due to SAT testing.
Among others, Astoria was missing Victoria Kee, Olivia Paul and Jacob Hulti. Seaside was also missing swimmers.
Still, the victory was sweet, Emmett said.
“I think it’s going to be an interesting year in the district,” she said. “Seaside has a very strong girls team, and Newport has a very strong boys team. I’m just blown away that we beat Seaside today. They have an awesome girls’ relay, but they’re limited on numbers.”
Seaside had fewer athletes Saturday, but more victories (14). Astoria won five events.
Seaside won nine of the 11 events on the girls’ side, so the Lady Fishermen had to rely on their depth to score points.
The relay team of Megan Sparks, Kendal Gustafson, Ashley and Megan Schacher won the 200-yard medley relay in 2 minutes, 10.98 seconds.
“I’m waiting to see what they can actually do,” Emmett said. “We’ll see what happens when we have them all here.”
Astoria’s only other girls’ victory came from Gustafson, who took first in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:21.78).
Ashley Schacher was second in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly, and Sparks was second in the 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke. Shoshanna McCleary took second in the 500-yard freestyle.
“Ashley Schacher is not quite back to where she was at the end of last year, but she’s close,” Emmett said. “Olivia and Kendal are going to be real competitive in the breaststroke, and Megan Sparks is approaching the school record in the backstroke.”
The Lady Gulls, meanwhile, may struggle in smaller meets, but could score huge points at districts and state.
Highlights for Seaside included wins for Alyssa Harkins (200-yard individual medley and butterfly); Holly Wood (200-yard freestyle and 500 freestyle); Clarisse Coventry (50 and 100 freestyles); and Kendy Lin (backstroke).
Lin, Harkins, Coventry and Wood combined to win the 200 and 400 relays.
On the boys’ side, Astoria freshman Joshua Shipley took first in the 200individual medley (2:16.52) and the butterfly (1:02.21).
Sophomore Aleks Matthews had the only other victory for the Fishermen (1:25.72 in the breaststroke).
Seaside’s Luke Liljenwall won the 100 and 200 freestyles.
“Aleks Matthews has dropped a huge amount of time in the 100 breaststroke,” Emmett said. “And Josh (Shipley) is swimming very well. He has the potential to break a couple school records.”