At the Columbia Falls Invitational swim meet last weekend, Fairfield distance swimmers had shining performances. While most swimmers shy away from the longer races, the five females who make up the Fairfield swim team accepted the challenge of swimming the longer, more grueling events.

Competitors in the 200-meter individual medley IM swim two lengths each of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. “The IM is physically challenging because it tests a swimmer’s ability to perform each stroke fast and well,” Coach Beth McWilliams said. “Riley Gough, always one to accept a challenge, did what the coaches asked of her and contested one of the top IM racers in her age group,” McWilliams said. Riley not only stayed with her competitor but also took seven seconds off her personal best time and almost caught her opponent at the end, taking second place by a mere 0.16 of a second.

Tana Gough also shined in her IM race, by taking a commanding lead in the first leg of the race and never giving it up to win by over 10 seconds and dropping her personal best time by over two seconds. Fairfield’s other top IM racer, Alexis McWilliams, finished off the event by taking second and improving her time this year by a couple of seconds.

The other longer events at each meet are the 200 freestyle (eight lengths) for the 11-12 and 13-14 age groups and the 400 free (16 lengths) for the 15-19-year-old swimmers. Toryn Martinez and Brooke McWilliams swam the 200 free for the first time this season as an “expo” event (a time trial that does not count towards individual or team points). Martinez used her strength and smooth turns to post a time that was competitive against swimmers who have swum this race all summer and that would have placed her third overall. B. McWilliams used long, powerful strokes to complete her race in a great time that would have placed her sixth.

R. Gough also swam the 200 as an “expo” and improved her previous swim by six seconds with a time that would have placed her fourth overall. The Fairfield coaches are looking forward to more 200 freestyle races from these girls.

“The 400 free is a grueling race and one that not many swimmers offer to swim,” coach McWilliams said. A. McWilliams, however, rises to the challenge week after week with the knowledge that this race will make her physically and mentally tougher. This weekend, she swam a strong, smooth race and took 15 seconds off her season’s best time.

“Kolt Gough had an amazing weekend of swimming, posting personal best times in both the 50 breast by an incredible 10 seconds and the 50 back by over two seconds,” coach McWilliams said.

Fairfield coaches were also impressed with Remington Gough who swam his 50 free four seconds faster than his personal best and swam well in the back, breast and fly events.

There are no swim meets scheduled for this coming weekend, but the Sailfish will be back competing in Conrad on July 13-14.

Individual results:

•Remington Gough: 3. 25 breast; 2. 25 back; 6. 25 fly.

•K. Gough: 9. 50 breast; 9. 50 back; 13. 100 free.

•Riley Gough: 1. 50 fly; 2. 200 IM; 3. 50 back.

•T. Gough: 1. 200 IM; 1. 50 fly; 1. 100 fly; high point winner for 13-14 girls.

•Martinez: 1. 50 back; 3. 50 free; 3. 100 free.

•B. McWilliams: 2. 100 breast; 6. 100 free; 9. 50 free.

•A. McWilliams: 1. 100 breast; 2. 200 IM; 2. 100 free.