Roseburg’s Brighid Rickman is the top seed in the 100-yard freestyle for the Southwest Conference district swim meet this weekend at Willamalane Park Swim Center in Springfield.
“It’s my favorite meet of the year because everyone’s there, everyone’s swimming, everyone wants to do best they can,” Rickman said. “My voice is always gone by the end of the meet because I’m cheering so loud.”
The junior hopes to make her return to the Class 6A State Championships, which will be held at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center in Beaverton this year on Feb. 15-16.
The winner in each individual and relay event at a district meet automatically qualify for the state meet, or those who meet the qualifying standards. Any remaining berths will be filled with the fastest times from district meet finals.
“I’m more confident this year than I was last year,” Rickman said. “I have that knowledge that I can do it again if I work.”
Rickman is seeded second in the 50 free.
“It’s a simultaneous wanting it to be over, because you are so close and not wanting it to be over because you’re so close,” Rickman said. “You want to get to districts, but at the same time I don’t want the season to end.”
Rickman went to the state meet her sophomore year in the 50 free on an automatic time qualifier and the 100 free as a wild-card entry. She’s the SWC’s No. 2 seed in the 50 free.
“It’s going to be very close,” RHS coach Christy Todd said. “(Brighid’s) going to have to pull it out and dig deep and go hard.”
Rickman and Hunter Agsten are the only two swimmers on this year’s team who have state meet experience for the high school season.
Rickman dealt with shoulder problems early in the season, but has made significant progress in her health.
“It’s been only three months of physical therapy, but the improvement has been so nice,” Rickman said. “I haven’t worn tape in like three weeks. I can do push-ups and do all the dry-land activities that used to hurt, I can do planks and things I couldn’t do a couple months ago.”
The girls 400 free relay team of Bethany Foster, Libbey Ketchum, Rickman and Emily Blum is the No. 3 seed and coach Todd said she hopes the girls can medal in the event.
Rickman said she thinks the 200 frees relay team could also qualify for state.
“With the adrenaline and the fast seeds and the fact that we’ve been tapering, we can get to state,” Rickman said. “I definitely think we’ll have a lot of PRs.”
“I have a good number of kids who are seeded in the top 9, which is A-finals, so that will bring in good points,” Christy Todd said. “It’s promising, because we’re a really young team.”
Roseburg’s boys have a good chance to send multiple swimmers to state.
Agsten, a senior, is looking strong in the 200 and 500 free. Agsten represented Roseburg in the 200 free relay and 400 free relay during his junior year.
“I have a really good chance in the 500,” Agsten said. “I’m seeded first and I haven’t even gone last year’s PR. Last year I swam my PR at districts, so I’m hoping to top it this year by another three seconds and get to that five-minute mark.”
RHS freshman Dominic Colvin has a shot to make it in the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley, but will have a challenge on his hands.
Agsten, Colvin, Logan Todd and Rainey Lambert are the top seed in the 200 free relay. “It’s always a nail-biter,” coach Todd said.
The 400 free relay team of Agsten, Colvin, Logan Todd and Trevor Knox is the No. 2 seed and Christy Todd is hoping they can surprise at district.
Agsten said, “I’m excited to go up there and race our hardest.”
Roseburg’s swim teams have been camping with some health issues. According to coach Todd, 17 swimmers missed practice last Thursday due to illness.
The Oregon School Activities Association announced on Jan. 16 that the state championships would be moving from Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham to Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center.
“The dome covering Mt. Hood’s outdoor pool was torn in early December when workers returned it after replacing the pool’s liner. The dome was repaired, but when pumping it up in mid-December, the foundation crumbled near the facility’s doors,” read an OSAAtoday report by Jerry Ulmer. The state meet is expected to return to Mt. Hood next year.
Coach Todd said the state move doesn’t really matter to the Roseburg swimmers. However, because the team is so young she hopes their experience at invitationals throughout the season has prepared them for the magnitude of the state meet.
“They have exposure to bigger meets, so it’s not as intimidating,” Christy Todd said. “When you walk out on the pool deck and you see six other teams and 200 parents that you’re like, ‘Oh.’ When you do your normal routine I don’t think it’ll hit you until you walk out there.”