Four sets of siblings comprise nearly a quarter of the Century swimming team this season

Many sports teams describe themselves as families.

While that description often is a metaphor, in the case of the Century swim team, it is quite literal, actually.

This season’s Jaguars squad happens to include four sets of siblings — together, quite impressively, they comprise roughly a quarter of the team. And the great part for Jaguars coach Sarah Holman is that not only are the sibling pairs numerous, but they are also fast. All eight swimmers race on varsity, and a number of them should be in the mix for trips to the Class 6A state swim meet if all goes well this HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - The Century swim team features four sets of siblings this season: Logan and Riley Neal, Martyna and Kasper Adamiec, Sara and Liam Metzsch, and Josh and Hannah Galbraith.

“We’re very fortunate that we have the families that have put time into swimming, because not only are the kids great swimmers, but the parents are a huge help and very supportive of the team,” Holman said.

Logan and Riley Neal, a junior and a freshman, are the only sister duo in the group. The other three sets of siblings are brother-sister pairs. Similar to Riley and Logan, freshman Martyna Adamiec joins junior brother Kasper on the squad for the first time this winter. Sara and Liam Metzsch, a sophomore and a junior, are new to the high school team this year but bring speed to burn as longtime club swimmers.

Josh and Hannah Galbraith make up the veteran sibling pair among the group, as Josh is a senior and Hannah is a sophomore, and both kids raced for the team last year. Hannah even made a trip to the state meet on Century’s 400-yard freestyle relay. Logan Neal is also a returning state qualifier.

“Last year with Josh and Hannah was really the first time we had siblings on the team,” said Holman, in her fifth year as head of the program. “So this year to have four sets of siblings is kind of crazy.”

Swimming is somewhat unusual as far as high school sports go in that swimmers of varying ages and both sexes can be of similar enough ability to train with each other, even for opposite sex pairings. And boys and girls compete at the same meets with girls preceding boys in every event. In some sports like soccer, when the girls team is at home, the boys squad is on the road, meaning that siblings who participate in that sport may not often get to watch each other compete.

“It’s really nice to have someone older to look up to,” Hannah Galbraith said about having Josh around. “He’s kind of a role model for me in swimming, so it’s really nice to just go after his times and try to be like, ‘Ha, I beat you.’”

In true sibling fashion, having a sibling on the team can be a bit of an adjustment, though.

“It’s been good,” Martyna Adamiec said. “At first (Kasper) didn’t really want me swimming because he says I’m annoying, but I think we get along well now.”

Perhaps even more of a boon to the Jaguars than having so many siblings out is the fact that they can collectively cover so many different events. In fact, each sibling in each pair tends to excel at different events than the other — perhaps a little bit of both nature and nurture are at work in that, allowing for the kids to differentiate themselves.

For example, Hannah Galbraith is good at backstroke while Josh excels at the sprint freestyle events. For the Neals, Logan is an excellent sprint freestyle swimmer while Riley is one to watch in the butterfly and 100 free. If you substitute Liam and Sara into those events, the same pattern holds true for the Metzsches. Among the Adamiec duo, Kasper is fast in the breaststroke, and Martina prefers the sprints.

Logan Neal agreed that for her and Riley, being sisters, it is nice to have separate events to call their own.

“We’re really competitive, and she definitely likes to show off that she’s better than me in the longer stuff,” said Logan, chuckling a bit.

Though Liam and Sara Metzsch would join any team with a friend, thanks to each other, they already actually know a lot of their teammates, including the other sibling pairs, thanks to participation in club swimming.

“We all know each other pretty well and the support of knowing each other as well as the whole high school team knowing each other better, it’s just really supportive and I like how that is,” Liam said.

The siblings are already off to flying starts for Century this season. Though the Jaguars may not post superlative dual meet records this season, they have the speed and versatility to be excellent big meet teams. In the team’s dual meet against Newberg on Tuesday, Liam Metzsch posted times in the 100 and 200 free races that would have easily placed him in the top 10 at the Class 6A state meet last winter. And Hannah Galbraith has won three of the four individual events she has contested this year, while Riley Neal also went three-for-four against Newberg and Tigard in the first two meets of the season.

More good news for Holman is that the sibling pipeline could continue next season. Josh Galbraith will be graduating and leaving the team, but returning state qualifier Yuliya Lunina has a sister who Holman said is currently in eighth grade. So the Jaguars could have four sets of siblings out again.

The prospective Lunina duo would add a new wrinkle to the Century sibling dynamic — the Luninas could join the Neals for some sisters relays.

That would be just keeping it in the family.

Said Hannah: “The thing with saying that you’re a team and a family when you’re really not actually related, it’s kind of different than actually being related, because you know that someone’s always there to have your back.”

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