West Albany's Conner Dickerson has been coached by his sister, Bailey, in swimming and water polo the last two seasons.
West Albany's Conner Dickerson has been coached by his sister, Bailey, in swimming and water polo the last two seasons.

Senior Conner Dickerson already is highly decorated in his two-sport career at West Albany.

In water polo, he helped lead the Bulldogs to state titles in 2021 and 2023, earning state MVP honors last season. In swimming, he won 50- and 100-yard freestyle titles in the 5A championships last year and is a member of three school-record relay teams.

But Friday and Saturday, Dickerson gets a final chance to underscore his legacy when he competes in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union state championships at Tualatin Hills Recreation Center.

The top seed in the 50 and 100 freestyle, Dickerson is in position to defend his titles and challenge school records in both events. He also is part of top-seeded teams in the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay, an event in which he helped set a 5A meet record last year.

His qualifying times of 21.39 in the 50 freestyle and 46.85 in the 100 freestyle are faster than his winning times of 21.53 and 47.24 last year. And they are on the cusp of the school records of 21.22 (Joseph Laughlin, 1999) and 46.37 (Luke Milburn, 2022).

“I am very motivated to get those school records,” Dickerson said. “I really do think I have the option to do that. From my relay starts, I have broken the 50 record, I just haven't done it off a flat start. I feel like I'm right where I should be. I'm very happy with how the season has gone so far.”

West Albany's 200 freestyle relay swam 1:28.93 in the Mid-Willamette Conference district meet, within range of the 5A meet record of 1:28.23 that the Bulldogs set last year.

With Dickerson leading the charge, the Bulldogs – 5A runners-up in 2019, 2020 and 2022 – are the favorites to win their first state team title.

“It would absolutely mean the world to some of these boys,” said West Albany coach Bailey Dickerson, Conner's brother. “They've been putting so much effort in. And to do it in the same year that they won water polo, it just shows what incredible athletes they are in both sports.”

Bailey Dickerson, who won the 5A title in the 50 freestyle with a school-record time as a senior in 2019, has been her brother's head coach in swimming and water polo for two seasons. She assisted in both programs for three seasons before taking over as coach.

“The main reason she started assistant coaching was so she could be in the building watching me,” Conner said. “I definitely enjoy her being my coach.”

Conner said it was a “nice surprise” when Bailey became head coach, even if he admits that the sibling dynamic has presented its challenges.

“There's a couple times when there's been a little bit of tension, but I feel like typically we do a good job of handling the difference between sibling versus coach” Conner said.

The situation is nothing new for the Dickersons. When Bailey competed in high school, her brother Bryce – who holds the 100 breaststroke record at South Albany – was an assistant at West Albany.

“For us, it's kind of been a tradition of older siblings coaching younger siblings,” Bailey said. “I've really enjoyed it. He's a great athlete who has a great understanding of his body, so he's easy to coach.”

When she accepted the head coaching positions, Bailey said she didn't have any trepidation about coaching Conner. She found out later, though, that Conner had his reservations about it.

“But he never told anyone,” Bailey said. “It's worked out really good for us and our relationship. Whenever you have a sibling, there's a day when he's like, 'I need you to not talk to me,' but there's a great level of respect between us. He values my input and he really takes what I'm trying to get him to do to heart.”

Later this year, Conner plans to dual enroll at Linn Benton Community College and Oregon State and compete in OSU's club swimming and water polo programs. His top priority is water polo, where his speed and feel for the game set him apart.

“He can see things that are going to happen, and knows the general idea of the choices that people will make, so he has great reaction time,” Bailey said. “He has a really big drive to do his best for his teammates.”

A look at the state meets at Tualatin Hills:



Prelims, Friday 9 a.m.; finals, Saturday 8:15 a.m.

Teams to watch: Jesuit, Sunset, West Linn, Glencoe

Returning state champions: Mason Hopper, Nelson, sr. (200 freestyle); Nate Steiner, Glencoe, sr. (100 butterfly); Drew Eubanks, Nelson, soph. (100 breaststroke)

2023 team scores: Jesuit 114, Nelson 108, Sunset 77, Lake Oswego 44

Notes: Jesuit, which regained its perch atop 6A last year after Lake Oswego ended its run of six titles in 2022, appears to have the pieces to repeat. The Crusaders are led by Pacific-bound senior Graham Inman, who recorded the best qualifying times in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly. … Jesuit will be tested by Metro League rival Sunset, which is seeded first in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays and has the top qualifier in the 200 freestyle in senior Andrew Ignatescu, who is committed to Boston University. … Nelson senior Mason Hopper, who won the 100 butterfly as a sophomore, is going for a repeat in the 200 freestyle, where he is seeded second to Ignatescu. Hopper is headed to Arizona.


Prelims, Friday 6:30 p.m.; finals, Saturday 6:30 p.m.

Teams to watch: West Albany, Crescent Valley, Summit

Returning state champions: Thomas Olsen, Parkrose, sr. (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle); Campbell McKean, Caldera, jr. (200 IM, 100 backstroke); Conner Dickerson, West Albany, sr. (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle)

2023 team scores: Summit 69, Crescent Valley 58, West Albany 51, Parkrose 26

Notes: Parkrose's Olsen and Caldera's McKean – both USC commits – are staring down OSAA all-time meet records. Olsen, the two-time reigning champion in both the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle, could take down marks in both events. He swam 4:23.85 in the 500 freestyle at a club meet in December, faster than the record of 4:25.02 (Diego Nosack, Jesuit, 2023). His PR of 1:39.14 in the 200 freestyle (a 5A meet record last year) is within range of the all-time mark of 1:37.27 (Luke Thornbrue, Century, 2019). McKean clocked 53.87 in the 100 breaststroke and 1:44.23 in the 200 IM at the same December club meet, well ahead of the all-time records of 54.40 (Brian Frazier, Oregon City, 2016) and 1:46.91 (Nosack, 2023). … West Albany seeks its first title, behind senior Conner Dickerson, who is going for repeats in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle.


Prelims, Friday 1:45 p.m.; finals, Saturday 1:15 p.m.

Teams to watch: Newport, Catlin Gabel, Sweet Home

Returning state champions: Hodge Dauler, Catlin Gabel, sr. (200 freestyle, 100 butterfly); Adam Li, Catlin Gabel, jr. (200 IM); Sam Postlewait, Newport, sr. (50 freestyle); Zane Ricker, La Grande, jr. (500 freestyle)

2023 team scores: Catlin Gabel 70, Newport 48, La Grande 43, Marist Catholic 26

Notes: Catlin Gabel is shooting for a third consecutive title, but must navigate past a field that includes Newport (champion from 2018 to 2020) and Sweet Home. Newport junior Ben Hurty (200 IM, 100 backstroke) and senior Sam Postlewait (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle) qualified first in two events and are on the top-seeded 400 freestyle relay. In the 200 IM, Hurty will square off with the reigning champion, Catlin Gabel junior Adam Li. Catlin Gabel senior Hodge Dauler, who won the 500 freestyle in 2022, is the No. 1 seed in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, events he won last year.



Prelims, Friday 9 a.m.; finals, Saturday 8:15 a.m.

Teams to watch: Jesuit, Lakeridge, West Linn

Returning state champions: AnneMarie Vlaic, Lake Oswego, jr. (100 butterfly); Stephanie Lee, Westview, sr. (100 freestyle); Sydney Wilson, Jesuit, sr. (500 freestyle); Maeve DeYoung, West Linn sr. (100 backstroke)

2023 team scores: Jesuit 109, Lake Oswego 79, Sunset 71, Lakeridge 58

Notes: With 12 top-six qualifying entries, Jesuit is in strong position to win its second consecutive title and fourth in five state meets. The Crusaders are led by Wilson, who is going for a three-peat in the 500 freestyle. They also have the No. 1 qualifier in the 200 freestyle in sophomore Stela Sufuentes and are seeded first, second and third in the relays. … All four returning champions have committed to colleges in Wilson (Arizona), DeYoung (Missouri), Lee (Emory) and Vlaic (SMU). Lakeridge senior Rae Dodson, the top seed in the 100 breaststroke, is headed to Marist College. … Of the last 18 team champions, 17 have come from the Metro League.


Prelims, Friday 6:30 p.m.; finals, Saturday 6:30 p.m.

Teams to watch: Bend, Canby, West Albany, Redmond

Returning state champions: Kamryn Meskill, Bend, sr. (50 freestyle); Maddie Thornton, Bend, soph. (100 backstroke)

2023 team scores: Bend 67, Mountain View 52, Summit 49, Crescent Valley 41

Notes: Bend, Mountain View and Summit returned to 5A from 6A last season and promptly finished 1-2-3 at the state meet. Bend, which has won four team titles since 2015, might have its best team ever. The Lava Bears have the No. 1 qualifier in nine of the 11 events, including all three relays. Meskill (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle) and Thornton (100 backstroke, 200 IM) are the top seed in two events each. … Meskill, who has signed with North Carolina, won the 50 freestyle in 6A as a sophomore and in 5A last year. Last season, she set a 5A meet record in the 100 butterfly and swam on both 5A-record-setting freestyle relay teams. … Canby is seeded second in two relays and has the top qualifier in the 500 freestyle in freshman Quincy Taliaferro.


Prelims, Friday 1:45 p.m.; finals, Saturday 1:15 p.m.

Teams to watch: La Grande, Newport

Returning state champions: Becca Koza, Cove/Union, soph. (200 freestyle); Marie Mason, Molalla, sr. (200 IM); Sarah Koza, Cove/Union, sr. (50 freestyle); Elise Chamberland, St. Mary's, jr. (100 freestyle); Kirsten Sautel, Sweet Home, jr. (100 breaststroke)

2023 team scores: Catlin Gabel 54, Sweet Home 51, St. Mary's 36, Cove 26

Notes: Catlin Gabel and Sweet Home have finished in the top two in the last four state meets, each winning two titles, but this year it appears to be a showdown between Newport and La Grande. Newport, which has never won a title, is seeded first in both freestyle relays and has the No. 1 qualifier in the 50 freestyle in senior Layla Bretz. La Grande has top qualifiers in the 200 medley relay and the 100 backstroke (freshman Rinnah Lynch). Cove/Union's Becca Koza is aiming to defend her title in the 200 freestyle, but after winning the 500 freestyle last year, she has opted for the 100 freestyle. She is seeded first in both events.