by:  VERN UYETAKE Luke Marshall returns to the Lake Oswego swim team this year after qualifying in four events at state last season.

The Lake Oswego swim teams have nearly doubled their numbers from last season and have a handful of talented club swimmers out for the high school squads this year which should make for another very strong year.

The Laker girls are already off to a terrific start, knocking off the defending league champions from Canby in the teams' first dual meet 89-81.

Lake Oswego is returning distance freestyle Hannah Cutts who should be one of the league's top competitors in the 200 and 500 this year.

Amy Chen is also back after qualifying for the state meet in the 100 backstroke last year.

Sophomore Abby Lyons is expected to be another one of the team's top returners, competing in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.

"We're really deep with high-end swimmers and should be able to put together some formidable relays," coach Susan Branam said.

The team is loaded with speed as three key club swimmers join the Lakers this year in Celia Keaney, Sarah Kunitz and Catherine Yee.

For the boys, Luke Marshall returns after qualifying for state in four events last year.

David Ainsworth, another state-caliber swimmer is also back and putting up fast times.

The team should also receive a huge boost from Daniel Chen who is expected to be one of the state's premier sprint freestylers.

"He's terrific and can swim pretty much anything," Branam said.

Senior Wyatt Hayden also joins the team this year specializing in the freestyle events.

With the amount of depth and talent that the Laker teams possess this year, both squads should be formidable in dual meets and at the all-important district and state meets as well.

"We'll try to win the dual meet title this season and that's a goal that's attainable," Branam said.

There is plenty of excitement surrounding the program regarding both team's potential.

"We're pretty lucky this year. It's a great group of kids and we want them all to have as much fun as possible," Branam said.

Lake Oswego should vie for dual meet and district titles this year and both the boys and girls teams could be among the elite in the state.

The Lakers knocked off Oregon City last week and will resume dual meets after the Christmas Break.

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