The Sprague High School sophomore concentrated on shorter races for most of his years as a competitive swimmer and did pretty well at them.
Moving to the distance races may have made him elite.
Evenson won his 500 freestyle preliminary heat at the Greater Valley Conference district swimming meet Friday at McMinnville Aquatic Center in 4:57.61. He is the No. 1 seed in the event by 13 seconds faster than the No. 2 time of 5:10.86 by last year’s district champion Andrew Kauffman of West Salem.
“I was just trying to go under 5 and see what I could do, really because a few weeks ago I went 4:48 at the Washington Open,” said Evenson, also the No. 2 seed for the 200 IM. “Coming into this meet I wanted to give it my all and see what I could do, not tapered and shaved and all that stuff.”
Evenson made a change last summer by joining the Corvallis Aquatic Team for club swimming, even though it means a long commute each day for practices.
He said he doesn’t know if he’s gotten faster, but his eyes were opened when he started training for distance races.
“I got my first Senior Sectional cut, and it shocked the crap out of me,” said Evenson, who was second in the district in the 200 IM and 100 back as a freshman. “I’m used to doing the short stuff, and I thought I was going to get the cuts in there, but then I did something else and I got it.”