Laker, Pacer girls finish in top 3
At last week's state swim meet, one thing was proven definitively. The city of Lake Oswego has the most talented girls swimmers in the state.
Unfortunately, when it came to winning a team state title, those incredible swimmers were simply too evenly distributed between Lake Oswego and Lakeridge High Schools this year.
The Laker girls took second in state and the Pacer girls finished third, but both squads came up just short in breaking up Jesuit's dominance.
Jesuit edged the Lakers by 32 points but both Lake Oswego and Lakeridge took home state titles in individual events in what was a stellar meet for both teams.
The meet got off to a tough start for the Lakers. Lake Oswego's medley relay team was disqualified and Jesuit's squad scored a surprising victory.
Lakeridge's team of Karen Turner, Brenda Cha, Noelle Foden-Vencil and Madeline Hummel finished in second place by just three tenths of a second.
In the 200 freestyle, the Lakers' Celia Keany narrowly qualified for the finals but then lowered her time to finish in fourth while Hannah Cutts picked up a point for Lake Oswego with a 12th place showing.
In the 200 individual medley, the Lakers' Sarah Kaunitz entered the event as the heavy favorite and didn't disappoint. She cruised to the fastest time in the prelims and then was significantly faster in the finals, winning in 2:05.09 for an All-American consideration time.
'It was really close up until the breaststroke, which is my best event and I figured I had it after that,' Kaunitz said.
The 50 freestyle figured to be one of the most exciting and hotly contested races of the day and it lived up to its billing.
Lakeridge's Brenda Cha and West Linn's Brie Balsbough have battled in that event all year. Balsbough swam the fastest time in the prelims, edging out Cha by nine hundredths of a second.
In the finals, Cha got closer, but not quite close enough, getting touched out by just one hundredth of a second.
Also in that event, Lake Oswego's Catherine Yee finished fourth and Abby Lyons was 10th.
Cha was quickly back in the pool for the 100 butterfly and swam the fastest time in the prelims.
But, in the finals, Century freshman Elli Thornbrue took the early lead from the far lane and held off Cha down the stretch to win by just five hundredths of a second this time.
'If I was just a little taller or maybe had long fingernails I'd probably have two state championships,' Cha joked.
In the 100 free, the Pacers' Turner was locked in a battle with Newberg's Alysha Bush.
Turner dropped nearly a second from the prelims to the finals but Bush was able to hold her off and Turner took second.
Lake Oswego's Keany finished in fifth place in the 100 free.
Cutts would score again for the Lakers in the 500 freestyle, dropping nearly four seconds from the prelims to the finals to pick up an eighth place finish.
In the 200 freestyle relay, Lake Oswego entered the finals with the fastest time, narrowly ahead of Jesuit.
The teams were neck and neck but Keany was able to pull away as the anchor leg to seal the state championship.
The relay also featured Kaunitz, Lyons and Cutts.
Next up was the 100 backstroke where Turner was favored as the state record holder in the event.
Turner racked up an All-American consideration time in the finals and won by more than a second, securing her second state title in that event.
'My times are really close to where I want them to be,' said Turner who has been recovering from a tonsillectomy for much of the season. 'I'm glad I was able to end my high school career this way and represent Lakeridge,' Turner said.
In the 100 breaststroke, Lake Oswego stole the show with a 1-2 finish.
Kaunitz won the event with an automatic All-American time and missed the 6A state record by one hundredth of a second.
'I'm really happy. There's always pressure when you're seeded No. 1,' Kaunitz said.
Yee would take second in the event, lowering her time from the prelims by more than a second.
'I exceeded my expectations in all my events so I'm really happy,' Yee said.
In the final race of the meet, Lake Oswego entered the 400 freestyle relay with a slightly slower time than Jesuit's team.
But, in the finals, the Lakers bettered their time by more than three seconds and the team of Lyons, Keany, Yee and Kaunitz wrapped up another state title.
Lakeridge's team took third place in the event, led by strong swims from Cha, Hummel, Turner and Jordynn Canelis.
In the boys meet, Lake Oswego finished in an impressive sixth place.
The Lakers' medley relay team of Daniel Chen, Luke Marshall, Wyatt Hayden and David Ainsworth finished in eighth overall.
Then, in the individual medley, Marshall finished in eighth place individually to score more points for the team.
In the 50 freestyle, Chen swam the second-fastest time in the prelims and would also take second in the finals in a terrific swim.
Lake Oswego's 200 freestyle relay team earned a spot in the finals on Saturday and finished fourth in state.
Chen was then quickly back for the 100 backstroke where he took fifth place, getting on the podium once again.
Marshall would then earn a spot in the finals of the 100 breaststroke and walked away with a sixth place finish capping a strong performance by the Lakers.