The girls return a loaded squad that could challenge for a state title

by: VERN UYETAKE - Brenda Cha is a returning state place-winner for Lakeridge and is a key part of a girls team that could contend for a state championship this year.The Lakeridge swim program has consistently churned out stellar teams and some of the state's top individual swimmers and the Pacers appear to be aligned for another successful season this winter.

The Pacer girls lost just two seniors from last year's squad, which finished sixth in state and now have a senior-laden team, which looks to move up into the top-five.

“They are a very cohesive group and know how to work hard. They definitely see themselves atop the TRL this year with hopes to bring home a state championship,” said Derek Abbott who coaches the team along with Stacey Dennett.

The girls squad features three seniors who have recently signed to swim collegiately. Brenda Cha will swim a handful of events this season. As one of the squad's more versatile swimmers, she took third in the individual medley and helped two relays place at state last year.

Rowan Hauber is also back. She broke a state record in the backstroke last year and finished second in the finals.

Jordynn Canelis will also be a major factor to this year's team, specializing in the longer freestyle races and the backstroke.

Noelle Foden-Vencil is also an experienced state swimmer and one of the team's captains, specializing in the butterfly and freestyle.

Keaton Blovad is new to the team this year and gives the squad depth in the backstroke and freestyle while Sonya Ahmadyar will help the team out in the breaststroke and butterfly.

Keaton Weil, Baioley Morris, Madison Canelis and Lisa Douglas will also be big point-scorers for the team this season.

With that much depth and talent, expectations are understandably high for the Pacers this year.

“With this girls team, we have the kids that have a chance to be one of the best swim classes to walk the halls of Lakeridge,” Abbott said.

For the boys, the Pacers lost a talented senior class but the cupboard is hardly bare.

Senior Jackson Waste is one of the team's leaders and is strong in the freestyle and butterfly, along with fellow co-captain Alex Schaffer.

“It's one of the most cohesive squads that we have coached. Our guys squad isn't as deep as it has been but they are solid and hard working,” Abbott said.

Junior Zack Wyman is also a strong freestyler while brothers Sam and Max Swaim give the team depth in the middle and distance freestyle events.

Liam O'Shea is another strong distance freestyle for the Pacers while Joey McCommish, Owen Hart, Nick Neville, Jeremy Ackerman and CJ Hansen will also score for the team this year.

The Pacers figure to challenge for the league title and hope to make an impact on the state level as well.

"Lakeridge swimming is about being inclusive and becoming better people through the commitment of working hard, respecting each other and the community and if we happen to get wins along the way, that is just icing on the cake," Abbott said.

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