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Young swim stars make splash

ASHLAND ' It wasn't open swim at the kiddie pool.

It just seemed that way as youngsters converged on the All-Rogue Valley meet Saturday at the Southern Oregon University pool.

And in a staggering display of youth being served, meet records ' nine of them ' fell as new stars rose.

The fourth year of the meet brought together boys and girls teams from 10 high schools, and they in turn brought with them a slew of talented underclassmen.

Crater freshman Anya Martinez led the way, setting two records in surprisingly dominant fashion ' only to reveal afterward the marks are well off her personal bests.

— North Medford's James Gilmore, another freshman, wasn't far behind, bagging two meet marks of his own, one with a personal best.

Those were the most telling performers in a meet that spoke volumes about the strength of the area's year-round club programs, to which most of the accomplished swimmers dedicate themselves.

In the team competition, South Medford claimed the girls title with 302 points, followed by Grants Pass with 227. North Medford was the boys winner, scoring 266 points to runner-up Phoenix's 233.

Of the 16 individual wins, nine went to either freshmen or sophomores and only two were by seniors.

South Medford freshman Kelsey Hoeper added two victories on the girls side, as did Ashland sophomore Dash King and Phoenix junior Stephen Duncan in the boys meet.

Martinez proved untouchable, and it still might have been only a glimpse of what she's capable.

She won the 200-yard freestyle in 2:05.64, more than a second faster than the old record, then obliterated the 500 free standard with a 5:34.22 clocking, 13.58 seconds better than Lynea Loeffler's 2003 mark for South Medford.

Yet, Martinez's times were two and four seconds, respectively, off her bests in those events.

My goal was to figure out who I'll be going against at district and how hard I'll have to practice, said Martinez.

One of them was South Medford senior Nancy Hawley, who has won four individual conference freestyle titles the past two years.

Hawley was in the lane next to Martinez in the 500, and her seed time was two seconds faster. But the Comet dynamo surged in front and wasn't about to be caught.

Martinez has been swimming for six years under the tutelage of Suha Tokman, coach of the Superior Stingrays club team.

She's established herself as an extremely hard worker ' If we have 280 workouts in a year, she might miss four of them, says Tokman.

Crater coach Mike Heckert said a conservative number of yards per week that Martinez does is 20,000. Oftentimes she'll work out with both the club and school teams in the same day.

She's like a little machine, said Heckert. It's all technique with her. When she swims, it's just flawless. That, and she works long and hard in training. She does lots and lots and lots of miles.

Martinez is likely to go much faster in the next couple months in big meets. After the Southern Oregon Conference district meet Feb. 10-11 and, barring the unforeseen, the state meet, she'll taper for a strong performance in the Northwest Sectional meet in March with her club team.

It's conceivable she could break the 5:20 barrier in the 500 at district and go 10 seconds faster by sectionals, said Tokman.

I want to keep bettering my times, said Martinez. All you can do is keep racing yourself.

Gilmore may well subscribe to that theory.

He set records in the 100 butterfly in 56.82 and the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.77.

The fly time was a personal best for Gilmore, who has been competing for 10 years. His family moved to the Rogue Valley five years ago from Portland, and he commutes to Roseburg to compete with a club team there.

He wanted to put up good times Saturday to try to psyche a few people out and show them what I can do.

He succeeded despite battling a cold this week.

I wasn't planning on going any faster than my (existing) time, Gilmore said after the butterfly. Hopefully when I'm healthy, I can go a lot faster than this.

Gilmore attributed his butterfly mark to an unusual start. When he enters the pool, he's normally under water for only 5 or 6 meters. This time, he doubled his underwater distance.

I dolphin kicked almost to the point (15 meters) where I would be disqualified, said Gilmore. I don't usually do that. I just did it for the heck of it to see what I could do.

Hoeper edged Kelsey Nelson of Phoenix in the 200 individual medley with a winning time of 2:22.95. She then took the 100 free in 57.73, again nipping Nelson.

King won the 200 medley in 2:14.83 and the 500 free in 5:24.06.

Duncan captured the 100 free in 52.20 and 100 backstroke in 1:02.10.

BOYS

TEAM SCORES '

North Medford 266, Phoenix 233, Grants Pass 181, Ashland 156, South Medford 155, Crater 151, Eagle Point 101, Hidden Valley 22, North Valley 8.

200 MEDLEY RELAY '

1, Grants Pass (Lyle McDonald, Eric Swan, Collin Hebert, Killian Maxwell) 1:53.37; 2, North Medford, 1:53.96; 3, Crater, 1:55.91; 4, Phoenix, 1:55.98; 5, Ashland, 1:59.41; 6, Eagle Point, 2:00.81.

200 FREESTYLE '

1, Ben Dawson, A, 1:55.86; 2, Lyle McDonald, GP, 1:59.04; 3, Minor Ross, SM, 2:04.21; 4, Stephen Camaden, EP, 2:05.03; 5, David Delli Gatti, SM, 2:09.93; 6, Jacob Lee, P, 2:11.57.

200 INdivIDUAL MEDLEY '

1, Dash King, A, 2:14.83; 2, Ben Beecher, SM, 2:14.89; 3, Josh Silver, NM, 2:21.37; 4, Tyson Broadhead, Cra, 2:26.83; 5, Dayton Hughes, NM, 2:29.36; 6, Eric Swan, GP, 2:38.36.

50 FREESTYLE '

1, Lance Abbott, NM, 23.94; 2, Brad Doll, SM, 24.29; 3, Killian Maxwell, GP, 24.52; 4, Blake Roberts, Cra, 24.99; 5, Tyler Prehn, P, 25.18; 6, John Harris, A, 25.40.

100 BUTTERFLY '

1, James Gilmore, NM, 56.82 (meet record, old mark 58.33 by Tolga Tokman, 2004); 2, Collin Hebert, GP, 59.65; 3, Killian Maxwell, GP, 1:02.68; 4, Peter Williams, P, 1:03.07; 5, Connor Richerson, EP, 1:03.88; 6, Rowdy Wilkins, Cra, 1:09.25.

100 FREESTYLE '

1, Stephen Duncan, P, 52.20; 2, Michael Heckert, Cra, 52.35; 3, Ben Dawson, A, 53.67; 4, Lance Abbott, NM, 53.91; 5, Minor Ross, SM, 54.05; 6, Lyle McDonald, 54.96.

500 FREESTYLE '

1, Dash King, A, 5:24.06; 2, Stephen Camaden, EP, 5:31.26; 3, Ben Beecher, 5:31.86; 4, Jacob Lee, P, 6:01.61; 5, Dayton Hughes, NM, 6:05.14; 6, Jason Carter, Cra, 6:09.69.

200 FREESTYLE RELAY '

1, North Medford (Davis Jantzi, Thomas Gilder, Josh Silver, James Gilmore) 1:38.68; 2, South Medford 1:39.28; 3, Ashland 1:39.50; 4, Grants Pass 1:40.19; 5, Phoenix 1:46.62; 6, Eagle Point 1:47.10.

100 BACKSTROKE '

1, Stephen Duncan, P, 1:02.10; 2, Brad Doll, SM, 1:04.35; 3, Scott Sell, A, 1:04.78; 4, Collin Hebert, GP, 1:06.43; 5, Thomas Gilder, NM, 1:08.16; 6, Michael Cooper, EP, 1:09.53.

100 BREASTSTROKE '

1, James Gilmore, NM, 1:05.77 (meet record, old mark 1:07.48 by Travis Bishop, 2004); 2, Josh Silver, NM, 1:11.73; 3, Eric Swan, GP, 1:12.17; 4, Tyson Broadhead, Cra, 1:14.80; 5, Conner Richerson, EP, 1:14.99; 6, Ronny Mathiesen, P, 1:15.14.

400 FREESTYLE RELAY '

1, South Medford (Ben Beecher, Brad Doll, David Delli Gatti, Minor Ross) 3:45.69; 2, Phoenix 3:46.33; 3, North Medford 3:55.98; 4, Grants Pass 4:05.64; 5, Ashland 4:06.77; 6, Crater 4:09.21.

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES '

South Medford 302, Grants Pass 227, North Medford 195, Phoenix 158, Creswell 142, Crater 118, Hidden Valley 59, North Valley 58, Ashland 25, Eagle Point 6.

200 MEDLEY RELAY '

1, Creswell (Sarah Harsey, Amanda Fitzgerald, Sara Bennion, Lauren Bennion) 2:00.67 (meet record, old mark 2:05.25 by Crater, 2004); 2, North Medford, 2:03.63; 3, Grants Pass, 2:07.42; 4, South Medford, 2:09.27; 5, Hidden Valley, 2:13.77; 6, Crater, 2:14.08.

200 FREESTYLE '

1, Anya Martinez, Cra, 2:05.64 (meet record, old mark 2:06.89 by Ashley Roda, 2005); 2, Jaimie Buckley, SM, 2:08.06; 3, Ashley Roda, A, 2:09.60; 4, Courtney Nelson, P, 2:12.34; 5, Sara Bennion, Cre, 2:18.39; 6, Sarah McDonald, GP, 2:26.96.

200 INdivIDUAL MEDLEY '

1, Kelsey Hoeper, SM, 2:22.95; 2, Kelsey Nelson, P, 2:23.19; 3, Stephanie Cendejas, NM, 2:24.19; 4, Dani Manzanares, GP, 2:26.69; 5, Ashlee Rutter, Cra, 2:31.14; 6, Brianna Houck, NM, 2:41.44.

50 FREESTYLE '

1, Nancy Hawley, SM, 26.14; 2, Kayla Heath, P, 26.58; 3, Lauren Bennion, Cre, 27.08; 4, Rachel Heck, GP, 27.13; 5, Paige Granger, SM, 27.36; 6, Joy Nelson, P, 27.65.

100 BUTTERFLY '

1, Erin Ebert, NM, 1:03.57; 2, Melissa Pepitone, HV, 1:04.29; 3, Sara Bennion, Cre, 1:06.82; 4, Sarah Harsey, Cre, 1:07.36; 5, Jaimie Buckley, SM, 1:08.00; 6, Courtney Nelson, P, 1:09.92.

100 FREESTYLE '

1, Kelsey Hoeper, SM, 57.73; 2, Kelsey Nelson, P, 58.38; 3, Kayla Heath, P, 59.05; 4, Melissa Ghiglieri, SM, 59.70; 5, Ashley Roda, A, 59.80; 6, Rachel Heck, GP, 1:00.41.

500 FREESTYLE '

1, Anya Martinez, Cra, 5:34.22 (meet record, old mark 5:47.80 by Lynea Loeffler, 2003); 2, Nancy Hawley, SM, 6:01.10; 3, Brianna Houck, NM, 6:29.53; 4, Sarah McDonald, GP, 6:32.29; 5, Kambria Sauer, GP, 6:38.39; 6, Sarah Sinner, NM, 6:43.31.

200 FREESTYLE RELAY '

1, South Medford (Kelsey Hoeper, Paige Granger, Nancy Hawley, Jaimie Buckley) 1:47.07 (meet record, old mark 1:52.79 by Ashland, 2003); 2, Phoenix 1:47.48; 3, Creswell 1:50.44; 4, North Medford 1:51.73; 5, Grants Pass 2:09.82; 6, South Medford 1:58.58.

100 BACKSTROKE '

1, Stephanie Cendejas, NM, 1:03.41 (meet record, old mark 1:04.16 by Melissa Pepitone, 2004); 2, Melissa Pepitone, HV, 1:07.30; 3, Britain Kane, GP, 1:09.28; 4, Tessa Houck, NM, 1:13.54; 5, Paige Granger, SM, 1:14.40; 6, Elyse Cogburn, SM, 1:14.65.

100 BREASTSTROKE '

1, Amanda Fitzgerald, Cre, 1:14.77 (meet record, old mark 1:15.83 by Elise Boldt, 2004); 2, Sarah Harsey, Cre, 1:15.62; 3, Dani Manzanares, GP, 1:15.64; 4, Erin Ebert, NM, 1:15.75; 5, Melissa Ghiglieri, SM, 1:15.99; 6, Ashlee Rutter, Cra, 1:16.63.

400 FREESTYLE RELAY '

1, South Medford A (Kelsey Hoeper, Paige Granger, Nancy Hawley, Jaimie Buckley) 3:56.00 (meet record, old mark 4:05.80 by Ashland, 2004); 2, Phoenix 3:57.63; 3, South Medford B (4:06.92); 4, Crater 4:20.64; 5, North Valley 4:33.91; 6, Grants Pass 4:37.65.

Young swim stars make splash "ttrower@mailtribune.com.

Freshman James Gilmore sets a meet record in the 100-yard butterfly at the All-Rogue Valley meet at SOU. Mail Tribune / Andrew Mariman - Mail Tribune Andrew Mariman