West Linn girls race to fifth at 6A state swimming
The West Linn girls swim team has been proving itself all year long.
The Lions battled the Three Rivers League's best throughout 2018, going 6-2 in the league race and taking second at the TRL district meet.
West Linn then duplicated that success at last week's Class 6A state swim meet — held Friday and Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College Aquatic Center — stepping up to place fifth in the field.
"It was really fun. It's a lot different than club (swimming) because it's more like a team effort than it is just racing on your own," said West Linn freshman Gabby Calvi, who swam on two top-six Lion relay teams and also swam in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races. "It was really close. I was really proud of how we did today."
Sunset's girls won their second straight team crown on Saturday, finishing the meet with 207 points to edge runner-up Jesuit's 205.5. Those teams were followed at the top of the standings by Lakeridge with 158, South Eugene at 85, West Linn with 84 and Lake Oswego at 63.5.
The Lions opened the meet by taking sixth place in the 200 medley relay, with junior Katelyn Laderoute, freshman Reem Alharithi, Calvi and freshman Audrey Chun swimming to a time of 1 minute, 52.56 seconds.
Two events later, Laderoute came through to notch her team's lone win of the meet, taking top honors in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:03.02 to beat runner-up Tia Lindsay of Sunset — the 2017 state champion — and her mark of 2:05.08. The win gave Laderoute her first state crown after finishing second to Lindsay in 2017.
"I'm pretty happy, just going out there and having fun with my friends and doing the best that I could," Laderoute said. "It was a lot of fun."
Laderoute, the Lions' leader throughout the season, said that West Linn coaches did their best to make sure she wasn't feeling pressure before her IM.
"One of my coaches said 'Just be the best person you can be and it's going to be fun no matter what,'" she said.
Laderoute made a run at a second individual crown later in the meet when she raced to second place in the 100 backstroke. In that race, she battled TRL foe Mara Newman of Lakeridge for top honors, with Newman winning at 54.62 and Laderoute taking second with a 55.35.
The Lions also scored big in the day's final event, finishing third in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:37.32. Swimming on that team were Calvi, freshman Audrey Chun, freshman Reem Alharithi and Laderoute. Sunset won the race with a 3:25.69 while Jesuit took second at 3:34.15.
"I definitely felt a lot more excited than I do for my normal races," Calvi said. "I started to get a little nervous, but then I was like 'No. I'm just excited because of all these people.'"
Other West Linn highlights included: Alharithi, sixth in the 50 freestyle at 25.05; and Calvi, 11th in the 200 freestyle at 2:00.14, and 11th again in the 500 free at 5:20.77.