In one of the more surprising turns of events from last season, the Girls Swim Team placed second in state-the second top three finish in two seasons. Led by Robin Pinger, Laura Laderoute, and Kylie Norris, juniors, the Lions are gunning for a state title. Not only do the girls have state on their mind, but boys team captain Parker Kilstrom, senior, also has his eyes set on the podium in late February.
Despite there being no official offseason for Pinger or Kilstrom due to their year round club commitment, they are definitely glad to be back with teammates from West Linn.
“It’s great to be with them especially since you see a lot of old faces that you haven’t seen in a while and you also get to meet new up-and-coming swimmers,” Kilstrom said.
“We don’t get to hang out with them as much because of club so it’s definitely nice to be back,” Pinger said.
Entering his fourth and final year as a Lion, Kilstrom was promoted to team captain along with seniors Anton Anikin, Brianna Dyrdahl and Zach Reid. Kilstrom has embraced the role and enjoys the increased responsibility that comes with it.
“It’s fun and being a leader is really cool,” Kilstrom said. “It can be stressful to learn all of the new names but it’s definitely a nice feeling to be looked at as a captain.”
For Pinger, she has the chance not only to win state with the team, but also on an individual level as well. Pinger’s specialty event is the 100 breaststroke and she has the confidence she can win.
“It’s definitely a possibility,” Pinger said. “As a team and individually, my confidence is about an 8/10.” West Linn lost a few seniors last year, most notably Brie Balsbough who was the Lions top swimmer at the time. Achieving the same success this season may be a bit more challenging.
“We did lose Brie which makes it a little harder but a lot of other teams lost seniors to graduation so we’re not the only ones dealing with this kind of thing,” Pinger said.
As for Kilstrom, he has his sights set on winning state in the 100m butterfly, 200 and 500 free. Many colleges have recruited him so his motivation to succeed is even higher.
“Honestly, I don’t feel as much pressure from colleges to do well as much as I face it from myself,” Kilstrom said. “All they want to see is me giving it my all and staying in shape.”
Every meet, every lap, every stroke puts them closer to state. Come mid-February, all of the talk will be put aside and for Pinger and Kilstrom, it will be a time where they put everything on the line in hopes for state title glory.