Arek O’Connell qualifies for state in 50 free
The Truckee High swim team brought nine swimmers to compete among the 16 programs represented in the Nevada 4A Northern Regional Championship at Carson Aquatic Center this past weekend.
Truckee junior Arek O’Connell qualified for the Nevada State Championship in the 50 free with a second-place finish in 22.23. O’Connell also fourth in the 100 free with a time of 50.69, missing State by three-tenths of a second.
“Arek is thrilled to be in the running for the 50,” said Truckee head coach Vicky Dewey. “We have one more week of taper and he is ready for the challenge.”
Truckee freshman Sophie Aaron swam personal bests in the 50 free, placing 12th in 27.17, and the 100 free with a 13th-place finish in 1:01.47.
Junior Angela Raso placed 14th in the 100 fly and swam her best time during prelims in 1:1057, shaving more than four seconds off her previous-best time. Teague Mason, a junior, placed 13th in the 50 free with a time of 24.92.
Other Truckee swimmers who competed in the regional meet include Michelle Hoehn, Julieta Rodriguez, Emily Stewart, Rebecca Alcaraz and Nissa Krider.
Chris Dewey and Arek O’Connell might have been found riding bikes or playing Pokemon together when they attended Incline Elementary together seven years ago. Now, at 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4, the two have found commonality once again.
Although O’Connell moved to Truckee at age 11, and the two reside in competing school districts, they have found camaraderie via competition, as the pair captured two of the three 50-yard freestyle spots in Northern Nevada for this weekend’s State Championship. O’Connell placed second (22.23) and Dewey third (22.53).
Dewey started swimming in Houston, Texas, at the age of 5 before he began competing for Incline Tahoe Aquatics (ITA) under coach Stefin Von Hartitsch, now in his fifth season as the Incline High coach.
The young swimmer encouraged O’Connell to swim for ITA when he was 10, and there was no looking back. O’Connell continued with the sport upon moving to Truckee one year later.
Coincidentally, O’Connell is coached by Chris’ mother and Incline resident Vicky Dewey, who took over as Truckee’s head coach this season.
“It is tough coaching Arek and seeing Chris on the block next to him,” the coach said. “They are both my kids in my heart.”
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.