It's a role reversal for the Lake Oswego swim team this year. In previous seasons, the boys team has been nothing short of dominant, finishing fourth in the state two years ago.

But, since then, the numbers for the girls team have steadily increased while the boys have declined. This year, the number of girls doubles that of the boys and the team is hoping to improve on its sixth place finish at state last season.

That doesn't mean that the tank is empty for the boys, however. The numbers may be down but there is still a ton of talent in place.

'We have a lot of talented kids. We're just not as deep as we have been,' Laker coach Don King said.

Cody Deacon, who finished fifth in state in the 100 breaststroke last March, returns in that event this year and will also compete in the individual medley and possibly the butterfly.

Johnny Urstadt is back as the team's primary back-stroker and Josh Friedman will specialize in the 200 freestyle.

Senior Anthony Brost is one of team's fastest swimmers and will be the Lakers' primary sprinter in the freestyle events.

Brendan Liu returns as Lake Oswego's distance specialist and will be tough to beat in the 500 freestyle.

Other returning varsity swimmers include sophomore Isaac Hayden and Wendell Raymond.

'All of those guys are solid swimmers,' King said.

There is a great deal of excitement surrounding this year's girls team. The Lakers possess one of the their biggest squads in years and a number of its top performers from last year's team are back.

'We're really pleased about the girls team this year. I think we'll do even better than last year,' King said.

Lake Oswego took one hit this year when Anna Gornbein, a big point-earner at state last year, opted not to come out for the team this year because of volleyball commitments.

Sophomore Mackenzie Luick returns in the breaststroke for the Lakers.

Jeli Nixt, who recently received a full-ride swimming scholarship to the University of Idaho, is also back to swim the breaststroke and the freestyle.

Alex Farrar, the school record-holder in the 200 freestyle, will pace the Lakers in that event again this year. Stacey Ellis is back as the team's top swimmer in the butterfly and will also compete in the I.M.

Jamie Fordyce will swim the freestyle events, I.M. and the backstroke while Ann Barrington and Devon O'Leary will be the team's distance swimmers, competing in the 500 freestyle and also in the breaststroke.

'We also have two or three really good freshmen who we're excited about,' King said.

Needless to say, the Lakers are loaded this year and a top-five finish at state appears to be well within the realm of possibilities.

'I'm thinking we could finish in the top four this year,' King said.

But that is still a long way off. First, Lake Oswego needs to make its way through the always-difficult Three Rivers League.

Lakeridge is expected to field one of its strongest teams in years for both boys and girls while Clackamas and West Linn should also be competitive.

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