Boys and girls swim teams returning state qualifiers on pair of strong teams
- Matthew Sherman
- West Linn Tidings - Sports
There is plenty of talent in the pool again for the West Linn swim teams this year.
Both the boys and girls teams finished in the top 20 at the state meet last year and could be primed to improve on that success this season.
The West Linn girls' numbers are slightly lower this year, fielding just 15 on varsity currently which will make racking up points at dual meets difficult. However, the Lions should still be extremely competitive at districts and into state.
The girls team lost just one key contributor from last year's squad which scored 33 points at state.
Brie Balsbough is back for West Linn, focusing on the breaststroke and freestyle.
Balsbough took fourth in the 50 freestyle at state last year and also scored in the breaststroke.
Ciara Wolfe also returns as a key sprinter for the Lions along with Sarah and Katie Cooper.
Lindsay Gilmore rounds out West Linn's core group this season as the Lions' distance specialist which gives West Linn a very strong competitor in every event.
West Linn's relays should also be exceptionally strong this year.
"I'd expect that we could get all three relays to state this year," coach Katie Wilson said.
The Lions are also expected to be bolstered by a pair of club swimmers who have joined the team this season.
"I think the girls are excited and they're starting to realize that even with smaller numbers they can still be pretty good," Wilson said.
Numbers for the boys team are up from a season ago.
West Linn will be paced by Curtis Klein who scored all 20 of the Lions' points at state last year taking fifth in the 200 freestyle and the 100 backstroke.
"I think he can do as well or better at state this year," Wilson said.
Branden Brooksby is also back for the Lions as one of the league's top sprinters.
"I think he could make it back to state in the 50 and hopefully in the 100 too," Wilson said.
The team will also look for big seasons out of breaststroker Anthony To, distance freestyler Ryan O'Leary and Parker Kilstrom, who is new to the team this year.
Like the girls team, the boys should also be very strong in all of the relay events and should be formidable in both dual meets and at districts,
"I think we'll be able to fill up every event in the boys meets and that hasn't happened for the past few years," Wilson said.
West Linn has already posted strong results at the Three Rivers League Relays and will open up its dual meet schedule tonight (Thursday) against Grant.