Tigard's Miller takes butterfly to freestyle win
TIGARD — The 500-yard freestyle event is challenging enough.
But, when the Tigard High School swim team hosted Canby in a Three Rivers League dual meet, Tiger junior Ben Miller wanted even more of a challenge.
So, prior to the start of the 500 freestyle, Miller got up on the starting blocks, just like all of their competitors in the race.
The horn sounded, and everyone took off. All of the other competitors got off to a splashing start, but, all eyes turned to Miller.
Instead of using the traditional freestyle stroke, Miller took off using the butterfly stroke — and he didn't stop.
For all 500 yards of the race, Miller stuck with the butterfly.
And he swam to an impressive victory using the butterfly, winning the 500 freestyle in a time of 5 minutes, 10.58 seconds, giving him a win by nearly 1:20.
"I always try to push my limits," Miller said at the end of the meet. "I kinda wanted to do a 500 butterfly. I like to challenge myself, and I thought it went well."
Despite Miller's victory in the 500 freestyle, the young Tigard boys were edged 93-77 by Canby at last week's meet. The loss moves the Tigers to 0-3 in Three Rivers League meets.
The Tigard girls came away with a 103-67 victory over the Cougars, giving the Tigers a 1-2 mark in TRL meets.
For Miller, swimming in the butterfly event is nothing new. In fact, he swam to third place in the 100 butterfly finals at last year's Class 6A state swimming championships, setting a new Tigard school record with his mark of 50.38 seconds in that race.
"This year, I'm looking to set a district record in the 100 fly," Miller said. "That's a goal for this year."
Well, if last week's 500 freestyle/butterfly challenge is any indication, then Miller could be well on his way to reaching that goal. In the 500 freestyle, Miller, swimming the butterfly stroke, was in control from beginning to end. And, when he finished the race, he got a loud ovation from the crowd at the Tigard Swim Center.
"That was a good feeling," Miller said. "I think everyone understood that it wasn't easy."
In addition to winning the 500 freestyle, Miller also swam to victory in the 200 individual medley in a time of 1:58.48. He also swam for a pair of winning Tigard relay teams.
In the 200 freestyle relay, Miller teamed with junior Cameron Williamson, senior Nicholas Ung and junior Ryan Wilkinson to pick up a victory in 1:39.09. In the 400 freestyle relay, the Tigard team of Miller, senior Joey Cavalli, Williamson and Ung won with a mark of 3:47.88.
"I'm definitely having a lot of fun," Miller said. "High school swimming is awesome in that way. All of the team spirit gets you going."
Williamson also was second in the 100 freestyle in 57.15 and he was the runner-up in the 50 freestyle at 25.27. Cavalli was second in the 100 butterfly in 1:03.90 and he was second in the 100 backstroke at 1:09.83. Senior Karim Bukres was second in the 500 freestyle in 6:28.03.
For the Tigard girls, junior Sahana Saravanan was a two-time winner at the meet. She had a winning time of 2:23.56 in the 200 individual medley and she triumphed in the 100 breaststroke with a mark of 1:15.67.
Also for the Tiger girls, junior Kaitlyn Wornath was victorious in the 100 butterfly in a time of 59.96. She also took second in the 50 freestyle in 26.83.
Junior Catherine Frisiras had a winning mark of 5:46.21 in the 500 freestyle. She also was second in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:10.13.
In the 200 freestyle relay, the Tigard team of freshman Jaime Cavalli, junior Elizabeth Perrin, freshman Jenna Ketchum and freshman MacKenzie Guentert swam to victory in a time of 1:54.09.
Also for the Tigard girls, sophomore Emma Vu was second in the 100 breaststroke in 1:17.87 and senior Laurel Soderquist sprinted to second place in the 100 freestyle in 1:02.04.
The Tigard teams will be back in action today (Thursday), when they host Newberg and St. Mary's Academy (girls only) in a Three Rivers League meet starting at 4 p.m. at the Tigard Swim Center.