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Lakers sweep district swim titles

Lake Oswego, Lakeridge competitors claim most of TRL's state-qualifying spots
by: Vern Uyetake, 
Alex Farrar was one of the leaders of the Lake Oswego girls swim team, which easily claimed another league championship at last week’s district swim meet. Farrar is shown here finishing second in the 100-yard butterfly, but her time of 59.11 was good enough to qualify her for a trip to this week’s state meet. Earlier in the meet, Farrar won the 100-yard backstroke and she was a member of two winning relay teams for the Lakers.

With the Lakers and Pacers competing directly against each other for spots at this week's state swim meet, logically, it would seem difficult, if not impossible, for both squads to have huge days.

But that's exactly what Lake Oswego and Lakeridge did last Friday and Saturday as each team qualified even more athletes to state than they anticipated.

Those results have both teams dreaming big as the potential for strong showings at state has now increased dramatically.

As expected, Lake Oswego won the boys and girls meets while Lakeridge finished second in each. And, as expected, both teams put a stranglehold on the available state berths. The Lakers and Pacers won virtually every event and many other swimmers who finished second or even third also earned trips to state by hitting state qualifying or wild card consideration times.

Both girls teams could finish in the top 10 this weekend but the Laker girls, who have had their eyes on a top-five showing all season, now may have their sights set even higher.

'I was hoping to improve from last year and finish at least fourth, but I think top three is even a possibility,' said Lake Oswego coach Don King.

The meet's second day started out well for both teams. The Laker girls won the opening 200 medley relay handily, with Lakeridge coming in second.

The Pacers picked up their first win in the 200 freestyle when freshman Emily Lightcap edged out Lake Oswego's Ann Barrington.

'We're very pleased with the results. I think this is probably the most events we've qualified in since I've been here,' Pacer coach Robert Wilson said.

Lake Oswego earned a 1-2 finish in the 200 individual medley with Mackenzie Luick winning, followed by Jeli Nixt.

Lakeridge's Lydia Burris continued her stellar season with a victory in the 50 freestyle, winning in 25.53 over Lake Oswego's Gracie Hampton.

'Lydia was incredible. She had been sick and took a ton of time off in her events,' Wilson said.

Burris then won the 100 butterfly, taking over three seconds off her time in the prelims, winning in 59.06 over Lake Oswego's Alex Farrar, who posted an automatic qualifying time of 59.11. Laker freshman Kelsey Rueppell also posted a wild card time in the event.

'So many kids hit those wild card times. We got more kids through than we thought,' King said.

Pacer freshman Julia Dahl won the 100 freestyle, touching out Lake Oswego's Devon O'Leary by two-hundredths of a second.

'Julia had a great meet and contributed enormously on the relays. We're looking forward to coaching her for the next three years,' Wilson said.

Lightcap followed that up by winning her second event of the day, the 500 freestyle, which she won by nearly 12 seconds.

'Historically, I think Emily's time should easily allow her to score. She can still drop a lot of time in that event,' Wilson said.

In the 100 backstroke, Lake Oswego's Alex Farrar beat her own pool record, winning in a time of 58.98. Luick followed that victory by setting a pool record in the 100 breaststroke. Nixt finished second in that event but posted a time good enough for an automatic entry in the state meet. Lakeridge's Brittany Anderson and the Lakers' O'Leary also posted wild card times in the breaststroke, which was the most competitive race of the meet.

'I think both Mackenzie and Alex have a chance to win their events, certainly,' King said.

The Laker girls were also able to qualify all three of their relay teams even though the Pacers won the 200 freestyle relay.

In the boys meet, Lake Oswego was particularly dominant.

After the team of Brendan Liu, Cody Deacon, Tamas Thibeau and Anthony Brost won the 200 medley relay, Lakeridge's Jason Lou won his first event of the day, the 200 freestyle, topping the Lakers' Isaac Hayden.

In the 200 individual medley, Deacon was edged out by Clackamas' Alex Doja, but still came through with an automatic state qualifying time.

That was followed by a win in the 50 freestyle by Brost in a time of 22.97 seconds.

Lakeridge's Lou won his second event in the 100 butterfly, winning by more than a second over his nearest competitor.

'Jason's been our top boy swimmer all year and I think he's going to get even faster at state,' Wilson said.

Brost then recorded his double for the day by winning the 100 freestyle by a hundredth of a second over Putnam's Ryan Engles.

'I thought Anthony was really focused. That was better than he's swam all year,' King said.

Lake Oswego took first and second in the 500 freestyle as Liu won by over 15 seconds in a time of 5:00.23 over teammate Josh Friedman.

The Lakeridge boys posted another victory in the 200 freestyle relay as the team of Brian Cha, Zac Yensen, Lou and Joey Bora won by nearly a second over Lake Oswego.

Liu won yet another event for the Lakers with his victory in the 100 backstroke, topping his teammate Johnny Urstadt.

Deacon won his first individual event of the afternoon in the 100 breaststroke with an automatic qualifying time of 1:00.09.

The Lakers capped the meet with a win in the 400 freestyle relay, topping the Pacers team by over three seconds.

The state meet will take place at Mt. Hood Community College this Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the finals beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.