As of Wednesday, February 25, 2015
GRESHAM — Dallas and Central each earned a finalist on the medal stand at the Class 5A state swimming championships last weekend.
Jolie-Rae Ford of Dallas finished fourth in the finals of the girls 500-yard freestyle while Central’s Nathan Glade placed fifth in the boys 100-yard breaststroke finals.
Ford, a sophomore, hoped to save her best performance for last on Saturday. She more than delivered in the 500 freestyle.
Ford finished the race in 5 minutes, 17.33 seconds, setting a personal record in the process.
“I can always hope for better results, but last year I did not even make finals,” Ford said. “Fourth in high school state is an amazing accomplishment and I am beyond happy with how it all worked out.”
Ford also finished seventh in the 200 freestyle preliminary in 1:59.03 on Friday, narrowly missing qualifying for the Saturday finals.
The top six swimmers advanced out of the preliminary heat.
“We were a little disappointed she didn’t swim in the finals of the 200 freestyle, but in the overall picture, that helped her to swim her fastest time ever in the 500 freestyle,” Dallas coach Jeff Bemrose said.
Ford may not have accomplished all she was hoping for at state, but her performance in the 500 freestyle helped prove to her that all the work she put in was worth it.
“This season started out kind of rocky,” Ford said. “My times throughout the season weren’t the best, but because of all the work I put into it, everything came together at the end of the season.”
Glade hoped to make the most of his final trip to state. It was mission accomplished as Glade finished the 100 breaststroke final in 1:02.56.
“Last year, I didn’t make it to the finals,” Glade said. “This year, I had a lot of support and I was almost kind of expecting to make the finals this year. I was prepared to go and give it all I had, and that’s what I did.”
Glade was also part of the Central 200 medley relay team with Daniel Glade, Ryan Rosas and Orion Waight that finished ninth in the preliminary heat in 1:51.87.
Although it didn’t advance to the finals, the chance to compete at state gave the relay team a memorable moment.
“Going to state was a big accomplishment,” Waight said. “It was something that I didn’t expect to be able to do this season. It was a rush.”
State provided an ending highlight for seniors Nathan Glade and Ryan Rosas. But for Waight, a junior, and Daniel Glade, a freshman, state provided valuable experience for two of the program’s key swimmers for the future.
“We were looking at how everyone did their strokes and learned how to improve our swimming,” Daniel Glade said. “I’m glad we had a chance to go through this experience.”