Curtis Klein and Brie Balsbough head up the boys and girls teams respectively

The West Linn swim team lost a handful of talented seniors last year, but while the Lions will be lacking in depth this year, they still feature a few of the state's elite individuals.

For the boys team, the Lions are returning Curtis Klein who will look to defend his state title in the 100 backstroke.

Klein will have a target on his back this year but should be the early favorite in the state after nearly cracking 50 seconds flat in the finals last season.

Klein will also be featured in the freestyle for West Linn this year. Two more seniors should also make huge contributions to the Lions this year. Justus Highbarger will swim freestyle and butterfly and Ryan O'Leary will concentrate in the freestyle and backstroke.

Sophomore Parker Kilstrom will also swim the butterfly and freestyle and those four athletes should give the Lions a strong core as well as a talented freestyle relay team.

Kilstrom can also fill in in the 500 freestyle.

West Linn also had some younger club swimmers turn out who could give the team a boost.

“Those will be our key guys and we still haven't seen some of the club swimmers who are coming out and we're excited about them,” coach Katie Wilson said.

For the girls, Brie Balsbough returns for her junior year to defend her state championship in the 50 freestyle.

Balsbough was also third in the breaststroke at state last year but may focus solely on freestyle this season.

Brianna Dyrdahl also returns, focusing in the backstroke and freestyle, along with Sarah Cooper who competes in the same events and can also swim the butterfly.

“The girls medley relay team should be very strong,” Wilson said.

Younger swimmers should also make an impact for the girls team as the Lions have high hopes for a pair of freshmen in Laura Laderoute and Robin Pinger.

West Linn may have its hands full when it comes to dual meets this year as the team simply doesn't have the numbers to fill up each event. However, when it comes to districts and state, the Lions should still be a major factor.

“It's similar to last year. We may not score a ton of points at districts but we should do well at state,” Wilson said.

West Linn's season opens up this week with the annual TRL Relays.

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