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Former Vikings making waves at college level

While the Viking swim teams have been right in the heart of the championship portion of their season for the past couple weeks, so have some former Forest Grove stars now competing at the college level.

Among them was Prudence Rooker, who claimed back-to-back Class 6A girls 100-yard breaststroke titles in 2013 and 2014. Now a freshman swimming for Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., Rooker competed in the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Swimming & Diving Championships in Athens, Ga., last week, helping the Flames to second place in the team standings.

Her best individual finish came in the 100-yard breaststroke, where she took fourth with a time of 1 minute, 2.55 seconds. She also finished sixth in both the 200 breaststroke and 200 individual medley. In the breaststroke, she swam the final in 2:20.39 after posting a time of 2:19.62 in the preliminaries. Her IM final time was 2:02.36 after a 2:02.83 prelims swim.

Rooker also played a key role on two of Liberty’s relays. She swam the breaststroke legs on the Flames’ runner-up 200 medley (1:39.73) and 400 medley (3:43.11) relay squads.

The week before, two of Rooker’s former high school teammates were busy at the North Coast Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships, staged Feb. 11-14 in Granville, Ohio.

Vera Hutchison and Oriene Shiel helped Oberlin College take fourth place at the meet for its best-ever team finish.

A sophomore at Oberlin, Hutchison posted a highlight in the 800 freestyle relay, where she was fourth with her teammates in 7:39.71, an NCAA Division III B cut time. She took fifth in the 100 butterfly with a school record mark of 57.36, sixth in the 200 butterfly (2:07.22, a personal best and second all-time at Oberlin) and 12th in the 200 IM (2:09.60, fourth in school history). Her 200 butterfly time was also faster than the NCAA Division III B cut standard of 2:08.59.

The former Viking also swam the butterfly leg on the Yeowomen’s third-place 400 medley relay team (3:56.08).

Shiel also made plenty of contributions. Individually, she took 13th in the 200 breaststroke (2:31.10, sixth all-time at Oberlin), 20th in the 400 IM (4:49.03, 10th in school history) and 26th in the 200 IM (2:18.81).

Both swimmers also teamed up on the Yeowomen’s 200 medley relay, which finished fifth in a school record time of 1:49.79.

Hutchison also swam in the Fast Chance Meet in Gambier, Ohio, last Saturday, where she swam a time of 1:58.84 in the 200 free for a personal best and the sixth-best performance in school history.

Hutchison and her Oberlin 800 free relay teammates now wait to see if the time they posted at their conference meet is fast enough to make the national field.

The NCAA Division III swimming championships are slated for March 18-21 in Shenandoah, Texas.

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