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Powerful Crusader girls roll on in Metro competition


Jesuit's swimmers go to 4-0 in the 2013 Metro League race

BEAVERTON — The Jesuit girls swim team is right where it wants to be.

As of last week’s victory over Beaverton, the Crusaders found themselves in sole possession of first place in the Metro League and looking ahead to some of the biggest meets of the year.

Jesuit ran its Metro record to 4-0 on Jan. 17 when it posted a dominating 137-33 win over Beaverton at Beaverton Swim Center.

“We just wanted to swim the best we can and cheer each other on,” said Jesuit junior Megan Harper, who swam on all three of her team’s winning relays and also took second in the 100-yard freestyle.”We knew that if we all did our best, did our own personal records, everything would come together.”

Beaverton, meanwhile, didn’t win an event against the powerful Crusaders — the four-time defending Metro and Class 6A state champions — and fell to 0-4 in league, but left satisfied with their efforts and progress toward their own personal goals.

“As a member of the Metro League, Beaverton has ... (faced) many meets like yesterday,” said Beaverton’s first-year coach Judy Rusaw. But “I always encourage swimmers not to worry about wins and losses and just focus on what they can control — themselves.”

That said, Jesuit controlled just about everything in its match-up against the Beavers, winning all 11 of the day’s events, taking second in 10 of those races and third in another nine to race to victory.

Senior captain Kelsey Forster was her team’s lone two-time winner, setting the pace in both the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke ad also swimming on her team’s winning 200 medley relay and runner-up 200 freestyle relay.

In the 200 IM, Forster swam a winning time of 2 minutes, 25.76 seconds to lead a top-three Crusader sweep that also included Courtney Hall’s second-place time of 2:32.42 and Laura Parker’s third at 2:36.61. In the backstroke, Forster went 1:07.68 to win, with teammate Stephanie Forsyth second there at 1:09.83.

Jesuit’s other individual winners included: Aimee Piercy in the 200 freestyle at 2:14.83 (with teammate Elizabeth Reynaud second at 2:18.05; Caitlyn McMahon in the 50 freestyle at 28.24 (with Beaverton’s Samantha Otis second at 29.07); Reynaud in the 100 butterfly at 1:09.07 (with Forsyth second at 1:12.69); Erin Perry in the 100 free at 58.64 (with Harper second at 59.04); Zofia Zdanowicz in the 500 freestyle at 6:02.83 (with teammate Emily Holman second at 6:23.65); and Blaise Wittenauer-Lee in the 100 breaststroke with a winning time of 1:11.50 (with teammate Claire Lucas second at 1:25.49).

“We’re still doing winter training right now so it’s really hard, and we’re getting ready for finals next week in school so that’s hard too,” Harper said. But “to me, high school meets are good practice, a chance to practice racing.”

In the relays, Jesuit won three straight times, with Harper, Wittenauer-Lee, Perry and Forster taking the 200 medley relay in 1:59.84. In the 200 freestyle relay, the Crusader quartet of Perry, Harper, Reynaud and Wittenauer-Lee took top honors at 1:50.54. And in the 400 free relay, Jesuit’s Harper, Perry, Holman and Zdanowicz set the pace at 4:15.11.

Their powerful performance gave the Crusaders hope that there are more good things ahead at the upcoming district and Class 6A state meets.

“We’d like to win district, but I know that’s everyone’s goal,” Harper added. “Sunset for sure and probably Westview — those will be our main competition.”

Despite Jesuit’s dominance, the Beavers did put together some highlights of their own in the meet. Foremost among those was Otis’ runner-up finish in the 50 freestyle, and Ingrid Erickson’s third-place effort in the 100 backstroke at 1:22.30.

Beaverton also got third-place finishes from two of its relay teams, with Erickson, Marina Odegaard, Otis and Kaitlyn Wright third in the 200 medley relay at 2:19.56, and Monika Helak, Meghan Conover, Rachel Barzen and Isabella Shoop teaming up to take third I the 400 freestyle relay at 5:02.10.

“We set attainable early-season goals, mid-season and late-season goals (and) with time in the water and hard work, most of them realize their goals by season’s end,” Rusaw said. “I told them that they were to focus on racing the clock and swimming a best time ... (and) we had a slew of best times and a lot of happy kids.”

In upcoming meets, Jesuit swims at Sunset at 4 p.m. today (Thursday), while the Beavers host Aloha at 4 p.m. today.

To see a complete photo gallery from this meet, please go to milesvance.exposuremanager.com.