The Methow Valley Killer Whales swam their way to the Okanogan County summer league team championship on Saturday (July 29) with a boatload of top-three performances at the Okanogan City Pool.
The local swimmers won 10 of the 16 relay events and earned 12 individual titles for a total of 738 points, easily outscoring 2nd-place Omak (537), Okanogan (505), and Brewster (282).
In addition to the relay and individual 1st-place ribbons, the Killer Whales added 28 2nd-place and 26 3rd-place individual awards. The championship meet opened at 9 a.m. and lasted into the afternoon with 111 racing events in six age categories, with team points combined from both boys and girls.
Leading the way for the boys was Soren Stevie in the 13-14 age group with three 1st-places and a pair of 2nds. Olive Frady, swimming in the 15-16 age group, took home two individual titles, four 2nd-places and a 4th in leading the girls.
Stevie’s individual wins came in the 200-yard freestyle, 50-yard butterfly, and 200-yard individual medley. He was a close 2nd to teammate Quin Smith in the 100-yard freestyle, Smith touching the wall a mere 0.04 seconds ahead of Stevie.
Frady, the eldest of three swimming siblings, picked up her individual wins in the 50-yard butterfly and 200-yard individual medley. For Frady, Brewster’s Camryn Ashworth was all that stood between the soon-to-be Liberty Bell sophomore and a five-win day.
Quin Smith added a pair of wins, also in the 13-14 age group for boys, and Isabella Garcia-Lopez also won two races, hers in the 25-yard and 50-yard freestyle for 7-8 year old girls. Montana Spellman (9-10 year old 100-yard individual medley), Eliza Dubowy (7-8 year old 25-yard breaststroke) and Maverick Sinclair (11-12 year old 50-yard breaststroke) were all one-time winners on the day.
It was another banner day for the Killer Whales in the relays, their strong point all summer. Beginning with the girls 7-8 year old medley relay, the Methow team of Eliza Dubowy, Isabella Garcia-Lopez, Raya Johnson and Rosie Kipp breezed to the win in the 100-yard event as both Brewster and Omak were issued disqualifications. The 9-10 year olds featured three teams, with Methow Valley taking 1st and 3rd places. Octavia Bell, Maya Gehring, Sadie Michelsen and Montana Spellman teamed up to nip Omak by about a half-second. Dahlia Goldie, Rebekah Perin, Phoebe Schmidt and Astrid Stevie touched in 3rd place. The team of Clay Frady, Charlie Halpin, Danny McAuliffe and Ethan Miller placed first in the boys’ 9-10 year old 100-yard medley.
In the 11-12 year old 200-yard medley relays, the Killer Whale girls’ contingent of Zoie Dubowy, Paisley Esimol, Rylee McAuliffe and Jennifer Rodriguez cruised to a big win over Okanogan, touching the wall 54 seconds ahead of the Bullfrogs. The boys took the top two spots in the 11-12 year olds, with Finnbarr Humling, Preston Irvine, Weston Peterson and Maverick Sinclair earning the 1st-place finish, a minute ahead of the second team of Colm Godwin, Zephaniah Grubb, Oliver Nelson and Mackenzie Spellman.
In the 200-yard medley for 13-14 year olds, Methow Valley girls Lena Frady, Nova Gehring, Sophia Perin and Clara Ramsay-George placed 4th while Cassius Johnson, Gavin McAuliffe, Quin Smith and Soren Strauss represented the Killer Whales at the top of the podium.
Olive Frady, Adelina Humling, Zoe Kaltenbach and Helaina Remsberg swam to a 2nd place in the girls 15-16 girls’ medley while Connor Gonzales, Alex Ramsay-George, Finn Simmons and Soren Stevie swam up in the 17-18 year old class, placing 2nd behind Okanogan.
The summer season began the week school dismissed in June, featuring a circuit of Tuesday afternoon dual meets and Saturday, full-league invitational meets. With few Methow Valley swimmers in the 15-18 age category this year, there should be some familiar names back next summer, and look for the total numbers to grow.
The team closed out the 2023 season on a high note. “I love watching these older kids swim now and see how they’ve improved and gotten so much faster,” said volunteer coach Bo Thrasher. “But they’re also such good teammates. They’re so supportive of each other, most of them since they were little kids.”
“It’s been rewarding to see the swimmers push themselves individually, and then rally together for relays and to cheer each other on,” said coach Katie Leuthauser. “From 6-year-olds to 18-year-olds, they lifted each other up all season.