Strength in numbers: Depth brings optimism to HRV swim team

HRV Swim Team is about 40 strong; almost double last year’s numbers. Most of the team is pictured here before practice Thursday.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
HRV Swim Team is about 40 strong; almost double last year’s numbers. Most of the team is pictured here before practice Thursday.

With about 40 boys and girls in the pool this year, the Hood River Valley High School swim team is looking to draw on the experience of several seasoned swimmers and the energy of incoming young talent to guide the team to success in the Columbia River Conference.

The team, led by second-year coach Keith Ebbert, is nearly twice as big as last year’s squad, which finished first in the district for the girls and second for the boys. The goal this year is district titles for both teams and to send as many swimmers as possible to state.

But winning isn’t necessarily what will define a successful season for Ebbert.

“My philosophy as a coach is to let the kids choose their own events and not force them into anything,” Ebbert said. “First and foremost, I want them to enjoy the sport. At the beginning of the season we want the kids to try as many different events as they can so they gain experience from top to bottom instead of just a couple events. As the season progresses they’ll specialize more and more in their best events leading up to the most important meets.”

Ebbert said the outlook this year is good for both teams, but the boys team has a breadth of talent that the team hasn’t seen in several years. Leading that talent will be senior Connor Webb, who had a busy summer and fall season that peaked with the National Championships in Austin, Texas. Webb recently signed a letter of intent to swim at Seattle University and will be on athletic scholarship.


HRV senior standout Connor Webb (front, center) signing a letter of intent to swim for Seattle University. Webb is flanked by HRVHS coach Keith Ebbert and HRST coach Shelly Rawding; behind are HRVHS Athletic Director Keith Bassham and Webb’s parents, Renee and Greg.

“We’re looking forward to another strong season for the girls,” Ebbert said. “The boys team is in new territory. We haven’t really been able to compete with the other big 5A programs, but with some of our experienced swimmers and the group of high-caliber freshman we have, I think we’re going to be there this year.”

Ebbert credits the Hood River Swim Team for promoting the sport in the Gorge and for developing young swimmers into experienced competitors by the time they reach the high school level.

The Eagles have nine meets this season, with the district championships at Hermiston Feb. 9. The top swimmer in each event at districts automatically advances to state, as does any swimmer who beats predetermined state qualifying times.


The team started its season Wednesday with a home dual meet against Centennial High School. Highlights are as follows:

HRV girls 94,

Centennial 59

First-place finishes from: Rebekah Galvez (200 free), Caitlyn Fick (50 free), Dhani Freeland (400 free), Danielle Miller (100 breast) and the 400 free relay team; second-place finishes from Jocelyn Pedrotti (200 free), Rebekah Galvez (200 IM and 100 back), Erika Winner (50 free), Susan Raulston (100 fly) Anika Engbersen (100 free), Kylie Webb (400 free) and the 400 free relay team.

HRV boys 72,

Centennial 99

First-place finishes from Connor Webb (100 fly and 100 breast), and the 200 free relay team; second-place finishes from Charlie Sutherland (200 free), David Walker (200 IM and 100 back), Diego Ybarra (100 free) and Carlos Galvez (400 free).

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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