by: Vern Uyetake, 
Alex Jonsson comes up for air en route to a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly during last week’s meet against Lake Oswego. Jonsson also earned second place in the 100 individual medley for the Lions.

In its first meet back after a three-week break, the West Linn swim team had the unenviable task of shaking off the rust against what has perennially been one of the league and the state's toughest teams.

The Lions took their lumps but now have a solid understanding of what they will be facing at the district meet at the end of the season. Any West Linn swimmers who have hopes of advancing to state have now, most likely, seen their toughest competition.

That's the good news for the Lions. Their toughest dual meets, against Lakeridge and Lake Oswego, are behind them.

'You always want to swim against the best. Sometimes it's hard to convince the kids but these meets only make us better,' coach Jessica Houser said.

Against the Lakers, the West Linn girls fell 107-62 but had some standout performances. Most notably, the 400 freestyle relay team of Josie Sells, Elliot Prince, Whitney Finnerty and Jessica Broberg, won the final event of the night for the girls.

It marked the only event West Linn would win on the evening.

Sells had a pair of second-place finishes in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke.

Prince picked up where she left off before the break with a solid swim in the 500 freestyle to earn second place.

'Elliot loves swimming distance which is great. I never have to twist her arm,' Houser said.

One of the better swims of the afternoon came from Rosa Bhutarak in the 200 freestyle in which she also took second place.

'That's a new event for her and she did a great job with it,' Houser said.

The Lake Oswego boys also put up 107 points in the meet compared to 57 for West Linn.

Alex Jonsson earned a pair of second-place finishes for West Linn in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly, showing his versatility.

'Alex is a terrific swimmer. I can put him into anything and he wants to be where he thinks he can get us the most points,' Houser said.

Also garnering two second-place finishes was Thomas Hollingsworth in the 50 and 100 freestyle events.

Hans Farnbach took second in the 500 freestyle for the Lions while Kevin Sellers continued his strong season with a second place finish in the 100 backstroke.

Overall it was a good meet for West Linn to get back in the swing of things after taking such a long break from competition.

'I think the kids get a little intimidated against Lake Oswego but we'll just keep improving our individual times and hopefully our young swimmers will have an opportunity to shine in the next few weeks,' Houser said.

The Lions take on Milwaukie today (Thursday) and have meets against Putnam and McKay before a showdown with Clackamas in a meet that could decide third place in the league.

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