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Lakeridge swimmers set their sights high

Expectations just seem to keep getting higher for the Lakeridge swim teams.

This year the Pacers have been blessed with one of their biggest turnouts in years with 36 swimmers out for the team as opposed to 27 last season.

'We're pretty deep this year especially on the girls side and that's great because it frees up our kids to swim in the events their most comfortable with,' Pacer coach Justin Lindsey said.

While the boys team is about half the size of the girls team, it has a very solid core of talent and experience.

Jason Lou returns as a co-captain. Lou went to state last year in the 100 butterfly and he will swim that event again along with the 200 freestyle.

The other co-captain for the boys team is Luke Fuller who has recovered from injuries and is in terrific shape early in the season and is the team's top breaststroker.

'Both of those guys are solid competitors and can give us a little bit of everything,' Lindsey said.

Sophomores Joey Bora and Brian Cha are also expected to be huge contributors for Lakeridge this year and are two of the team's more versatile swimmers.

Bora swims the individual medley and the breaststroke and Cha specializes in the freestyle sprints. He will take over for Jared Burris, who graduated last spring.

Also back is water polo stand out Zac Yensen.

The girls team is also packed as a number of club swimmers have turned out for the high school team, which helps the Pacers' versatility.

Casey Chase is back for her senior campaign and will focus on the 100 and 200 freestyle.

'Casey really stepped up in the off-season and is in great shape,' Lindsey said.

Lydia Burris is also back and is a butterfly specialist and sprinter who is already in late-season form.

'Lydia continues to amaze us. She's already nearly as fast as she was last year,' Lindsey said.

Sophomore Brittany Anderson has filled a number of holes for Lakeridge. She can swim the I.M., the 500 freestyle and the breaststroke while Jenny Regan is another one of the team's sprinters.

But a group of freshmen may be the biggest reason for excitement in the program. Carina Lei is a talented freestyle swimmer and backstroker while Julie Dahl can swim nearly any event.

Emily Lightcap is another one of the team's distance specialists who Lindsey is excited about.

'If there was a mile event, she could swim it. Unfortunately the longest event we can put her in is the 500,' Lindsey said.

In the team's first meet against Clackamas, both teams came up with easy victories. The boys won 91-75 while the girls emerged with a 104-63 win.

For the boys, Lou swam on two first-place relays and won the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly while Fuller was second in the 200 I.M. and the 100 breaststroke.

Sophomore Shauyaun Azimi won the 500 freestyle and Cha won the 50 freestyle.

For the girls, Chase won the 100 and 200 freestyle, Burris won the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly and Anderson won the 200 I.M. and the 100 breaststroke.

The Three Rivers League is expected to be very competitive once again with Lake Oswego being the odds-on favorite to win the district title. However, the Pacers may have their best chance in a number of years to upend the Lakers.

'We expect to be strong throughout the dual-meet season. I hope we'll challenge L.O. and I think we have a number of kids with the potential to do well at state,' Lindsey said.