Tides change for HRV swim team

Going from the largest to one of the smallest lineups in recent years, the Hood River Valley High School swim team is gearing up for what is expected to be a tough season. The Eagles, guided by third-year coach Keith Ebbert, graduated more than a dozen seniors last season and have few new athletes to help fill the void. With just 11 girls and 10 boys, a repeat of last year’s breakthrough season that brought Columbia River Conference boys and girls team titles and sent more than a dozen to state, appears unlikely.

“It’s going to be a very different season,” Ebbert said. “The sheer fact that our numbers are down so low is going to make things very difficult. Districts last year was a chance to claim titles; this year it’s going to be a chance to see how competitive we can be against the other, larger teams.”

On a positive note, last year’s lineup included a strong group of younger swimmers, most of whom are back this year. Among those, Ebbert says sophomores Dhani Freeland and David Walker, junior Kylie Webb and senior Danielle Miller will be swimmers to watch. Last season Freeland, Webb and Miller were part of the district champion girls 200-meter medley relay team (along with Rebekah Galvez) that went on to finish fourth at the state championships. Individually, Freeland returns as the defending 100 meter and 200 meter freestyle district champion, Webb as the defending 200 IM and 100 breaststroke district champion and Miller as the 100 backstroke district champion and Walker the boys 100 backstroke district champion.

“They’ll definitely be working toward strong performances at districts,” Ebbert said, “Losing 16 seniors was a big hit to the team, though. Each swimmer can only do so many events, so if your numbers are down, you usually don’t do very well as a team.”

Ebbert says it’s hard to know why he didn’t see an influx of new swimmers like last season. One reason, he acknowledged, is simply the variety of sports kids have to choose from in the area; a sentiment many local coaches have echoed.

“There are so many options for kids to choose from, and athletically they’re talented enough to be able to come and go in a variety of sports,” he said. “That’s the wonderful thing about living around here. But as a coach, it’s also a huge challenge. Kids can be really good at a lot of things, but if they want to be really great at something, they have to dedicate themselves to it.”

The Eagles were meant to start their competitive season with an away meet last week at Pendleton but it was canceled due to weather. Instead they’ll host their icebreaker Thursday, 4 p.m. at the Hood River Aquatic Center in a three-way dual with Reynolds and Molalla.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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