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Reyes-Gentry smashes pair of state records

Crater senior wins in record-breaking fashion in 100 back, 200 I.M.

Crater senior Marcus Reyes-Gentry entered Friday’s Class 5A swimming state championships with the target fully on his back as the one to beat in Beaverton.

The competition quickly learned in each of his races why the University of Notre Dame-bound Comet had his sights set on a record-breaking day.

Reyes-Gentry capped his final trip to state with a pair of record-breaking swims to win two state titles at the Tualatin Hills Swim Club, winning the 100-yard backstroke in a meet record for all classifications at 47.45 seconds and the 200-yard individual medley in a 5A meet record of 1 minute, 49.6 seconds.

“It was just joy,” said Reyes-Gentry of what went through his head after breaking each record. “I’ve been swimming for 14 years now and this is one of the more memorable moments in my swim career. It’s just exciting. It’s always exciting when hard work pays off.”

Reyes-Gentry’s record-breaking time in the 100 back was an All-American mark, while his time in the 200 I.M. fell just under All-American consideration.

It’s the second time that the 17-year-old standout has done a double at the state meet after capturing state titles in the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke as a freshman in 2019.

Those were the first two state titles in swimming for Crater.

Now he gets to head back to Central Point with another two under his belt.

“I’m super excited with how my races turned out,” said Reyes-Gentry. “I feel like I was expecting to perform how I actually did, but it’s still super exciting when it comes to fruition.”

“It was just a lot of fun,” he continued. “I enjoy competing and being able to see some of my swim friends and connect with them. It’s been a long time (to get back to state), but the wait was worth it. I just hope I solidified those records and hopefully they won’t be broken for a while.”

It was the record in the 100 back that Reyes-Gentry had truly been wanting to break for the past couple of years after being unable to race as a sophomore due to a disqualification and then seeing the abbreviated spring season wipe out OSAA-sanctioned competition at the state level during his junior season.

And he didn’t disappoint.

In the 100 back, it was all about trying to start fast and hit his marks to finish under the previous OSAA record of 48.53 seconds set by Patrick Mulcare of Southridge in 2014.

Reyes-Gentry didn’t take long to build a comfortable lead, hitting the midway split at 24.42 seconds, then closed strong to beat Mulcare’s record by over a second.

“I think I would have liked to go a little faster and my goal was to get as close to the 46 (seconds) as I could, so I was hoping to go a little faster,” said Reyes-Gentry. “I kind of circle swam my race — I went down one lane line and then I went down the other, which usually costs you a little bit of time because it’s a little extra. But, aside from that, it felt like a good race and my legs kept up good on my underwaters.”

The 200 I.M. came first for Reyes-Gentry, who knew beforehand that this would be the more tactical of his two races Friday.

It didn’t take long for him to jump out in front, holding a full body length lead as he came to the end of his first 50-yard leg in the butterfly, one he swam in 23.20 seconds.

From there it almost was routine for Reyes-Gentry, who made the turn after the third leg with a legitimate shot to make it a record-breaking swim.

Reyes-Gentry swam his final freestyle leg in 26.98 seconds, finishing over a second behind the overall OSAA record of 1:48.01 set by Van Mathias of Beaverton in 2018.

A sign of just how dominant Reyes-Gentry was: He hit the wall just under 10 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher in the 200 I.M., Conner Dickerson of West Albany (1:59.49).

“I’m usually quick off the blocks because the adrenaline in the beginning,” said Reyes-Gentry. “Usually, for me, the first 50 is kind of all just adrenaline, so it usually doesn’t take much energy out of me. I always try and put myself out in front. On the freestyle, I really tried to kick it in because based on how that race felt, I knew that I was within contention of getting the record. I just went all out in the last 50 and I was just ecstatic when I saw my time.”

In other 5A finals, Ashland’s Mary Downs reached the podium in a pair of events with a fourth-place finish in the girls 100-yard breaststroke (1:10.92) and sixth-place finish in the 100 butterfly (1:02.86).

Ashland teammate Amelia Mercado just missed out on a podium spot in the girls 100 free, finishing one-hundredth of a second behind sixth-place finisher Grace Oster of Willamette.

Ashland’s relay team finished sixth in the girls 400-yard freestyle relay.

Crescent Valley and West Albany went into the final two relay races of the night tied for first place in the boys standings. But it was Crescent Valley that came away with the team title, edging West Albany by four points, 65 to 61. Redmond (34 points) finished third and Parkrose was fourth (26).

Churchill won the girls team title with 60 points, followed by Crescent Valley (55), Redmond (44) and Hood River Valley (31).

The state meet has a different look to it this year as a result of the pandemic, with the two-day event for each classification now just one day for each level. Class 5A got things underway Friday evening, with the 6A and 4A/3A/2A/1A meets set for today.

Rather than preliminary races on the first day and then finals on the second, each race was broken into two heats, with the six fastest qualifying times going in the second heat.

The 6A state meet begins at 10 a.m. this morning, with the 4A/3A/2A/1A finals taking place at 4:45 p.m.

Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or dpenza@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneMarcus Reyes-Gentry, seen here in a file photo, won a pair of state titles at Friday’s Class 5A state swim meet in Beaverton.