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McMinnville Swim Team holds first home meet
Alec Smith Big Breath 6-9.jpg
Alec Smith is a very active high school athlete. He gives 100% in all of his four sports. - photo by Brad Durham

McMinnville Swim Team had its first home swim meet Tuesday night at Gilley Pool. Head coach Paige Northcutt had 103 swimmers from the ages of 4 to 17 present to compete against Manchester’s swim team. 

It is an impressive sight to see over 100 local swimmers participating in a meet. Fortunately, all the races were complete before the heavy rain hit. 

The young swimmers were competitive with Manchester, but there was some separation as the swimmers advanced in age. The reason that Manchester dominated the older age swimming races is because Manchester’s older swimmers will swim year-round. Therefore, coach Northcutt focuses predominantly on individual times for the older swimmers -- with an emphasis on improving individual times at each race. In other words, the older swimmers are attempting to beat their previous best times in the races.


Northcutt was pleased to see so many young swimmers competing. Northcutt said, “We had a lot of the little kids who have never swam across the pool before go across the pool today. We had some first-timers among the older kids who did not go to the away meet last week, but they also had a successful meet. We had 45 volunteers, and these were all parents. Everyone volunteers their time. It takes a village to make these swim meets happen.”

Not every McMinnville swimmer was present at the meet on Tuesday. Overall, there are 133 kids swimming on the team this year. The swimmers are in the water five days a week for two hours of practice a day. They have been in the water since April, trying to catch up to all the teams McMinnville competes against in the summer.

There are many multiple-sport athletes on the McMinnville Swim Team. One of these athletes is Alec Smith who is a four-sport athlete. Smith is a cross country runner, a wrestler, a track team member, and a swimmer.


Several young McMinnville swimmers won their races. 

Layla-Barrie Guthrie is 8 years old and she has been swimming since she was 4. Layla-Barrie won the 25-meter free, back, and breast stroke races in her age group. 

Other swimmers winning their races were Mae Chambers, Vance Caten, George Myers, Emme Reed, Brody Chisam, and J.P. Toney. Toney was the only older McMinnville swimmer who was able to win a race. Toney won the boys 13-14 year old 50-meter backstroke.

After winning the boys 8 and under 25-meter breaststroke race, George Myers said, “I felt good. I was in lane four. I like doing the breaststroke.” 

Manchester won the girls team competition 184-95 and the boys competition 173-78. McMinnville is at a serious disadvantage in the summer swim meets. Not having an indoor makes a remarkable difference.

How much of a difference? If Paige Northcutt had grown up in McMinnville, she would not have become an Olympic swimmer and won a bronze medal. Fortunately, Northcutt is in McMinnville to coach swimming, but as she says, it takes a village to make these swim meets happen.