Gus Arzner has been the varsity swimming coach at Lebanon High School for 13 years and is in his 40th year overall as a head coach.
He can’t remember ever having a team accomplish what the Warrior boys have done to start this season. Lebanon was won all 11 varsity events in each of the three dual meets held this season.
The Warriors have swept first place against Silverton, Marist and Crescent Valley.
“I don’t know if we’ve ever had a team that has done that. It just shows the power and speed we have returning,” Arzner said, joking that “I guess the pressure is on.”
The Warriors knew they were bringing back a strong squad after placing second at the OSAA 5A state championships last year.
Lebanon returns seniors Tyler Simpson, Carson Killian and Owen Stellbrink, along with juniors Drew Charley, Carson Killian and Dane Togerson. The Warriors also added Nico Barbafiera, an exchange student from Italy.
“He’s got some speed,” Arzner said.
The coach was pleased with the work his team put in preparing for the season. He singled out Simpson and Killian for their progress from last year.
“Tyler Simpson trained diligently through the summer and fall and he’s swimming really well for us,” Arzner said.
During a dual meet on Tuesday, Dec. 11 against Crescent Valley, Charley won the 100–yard freestyle and the 100 backstroke; Barbafiera topped the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke; Yordy was first in the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle; Simpson won the 200 freestyle and Togerson the 50 freestyle.
The Warriors graduated a total of 16 varsity swimmers from last year’s boys and girls teams. While the boys side remains fairly deep, the girls team is rebuilding behind some talented returners.
Isabella Ayala returns for her senior season after missing last year due to injury. During the dual meet against Crescent Valley, Ayala won the 100 breaststroke event.
“She is swimming well,” Arzner said.
Also back for the Warriors is junior Elizabeth Beck. She topped the 200 individual medley in the meet with the Raiders.
“Those two are really our returning veterans,” Arzner said.
Beck is focused on the 200 IM and the 500 freestyle this season. Her goal is to reach the state finals, which she has not yet accomplished.
Sophomores Emily Squires and Taylor Harrington are up and comers, and newcomer Molly Pearson has been a welcome addition. A club swimmer, this is her first year swimming for Lebanon High School. Pearson won the 100 freestyle in the CV meet.
Freshman Devony Beckett had the Warriors’ other individual win, topping the 100 backstroke.
Lebanon does not compete again until after the Christmas break. The Warriors will host a four team meet on Saturday, Jan. 5.
That does not mean the team is looking forward to a break. The Warriors will practice right through the holidays.
“We’ll be doing daily doubles at least five sessions over the break,” Arzner said.
He knows the team is ready for the work.
“They’re a joy to coach. It’s a very good group of kids,” Arzner said.