Twelve swimmers advance to state following successful district tournament

The swim team surpassed expectations over the weekend, as the girls team took the district title, and the boys placed fourth behind strong competition from Lake Oswego, Grant and Oregon City. Twelve swimmers advanced to the state competition, including five individuals who will compete in four separate events.

Curtis Klein, senior, and Brie Balsbough, junior, are each reigning state champions; Klein in the 100 yard backstroke, and Balsbough in the 100-breaststroke.

“I am excited for the 100-breast because I am .38 seconds off of the state record,” Balsbough said. “It does feel different (to return as the defending champion) and I’m not ranked first going in, so I have to beat somebody. It’s really exciting, and I hope to have a repeat performance.”

Three girls relay teams advanced to state, and four members will also swim in at least one solo event. For the boys, two relay teams moved on, with one competing in individual events, for a total of five competitors.

Members of the girls 200-freestyle relay team include Balsbough, Brianna Dyrdahl, sophomore, Kylie Norris, freshman and Robin Pinger, freshman. This team finished with a time of 1:40.91, good enough for the fourth seed in the state tournament.

In the 400-free relay are Sarah Cooper, junior, Lauren Laderoute, freshman, Norris, and Sidney Pinger, senior. The team finished with a time of 3:42.76 and will swim as the fifth seed.

The final relay team, the 200-medley relay team, is made up of Balsbough, Laderoute, Robin  and Sidney Pinger. This crew earned the top seed at the state tournament with a time of 1:47.31.

Competing in individual events are Laderoute in the 200-individual medley and 100-back. Robin  will compete in the 100-free, and in the 100-breaststroke against teammate Balsbough, reigning district and state champ. Balsbough’s final event will be the 50-free.

The boys will send five swimmers to state. Two relay teams with a core of three seniors;Justus Highbarger, Klein and Ryan O’Leary. The fourth member of the 200-medley relay team is Ian Herr, junior. Rounding out the 200-free relay race is Parker Kilstrom, sophomore.

Klein will also be competing in the 200-freestyle and in his strongest event, the 100-back. Klein enters as the second seeded swimmer, but is the current reigning state champion.

“I’m definitely excited for the 100-back; I’m looking forward to that,” Klein said. “There is an upcoming freshman who is going to give me a run for my money this year and we will see how this goes.”

Klein holds two district records, both of which were set last year. One in the 100-back, and the other in the 200-free.

“I’m excited for the relays, those are definitely going to be fun,” Klein said. “Being in a team is better than swimming by myself. I’m also really proud of our girls for winning districts this last weekend. That was really awesome.”

The state competition begins on Feb. 15 at Mt. Hood Community College.