Sunset gave everything Jesuit could handle.
The Apollos did it collaboratively, supporting each other, inspiring one another, enjoying the Class 6A state championship meet as a team, not a bunch of isolated individuals who just happened to don the same colored skull caps. Tia and Kiki Lindsay, Zoey Dodson and Hannah Trainer put on a powerhouse performance, not as teammates but close friends reveling in the process, not worrying about the results. They came within striking distance of the too-deep champs as well, but came up just shy, settling for second place with 89.5 points behind back-to-back champ Jesuit at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center on Feb. 22.
But Sunset didn't leave empty-handed with when it came to postseason hardware or empty when it came to sentiment. Tia Lindsay was a beast, winning the 200 individual medley and taking second in the 100 butterfly.
"Going in, I wanted to have as much fun with my team as possible," Tia Lindsay said. "It's a really good note to leave on. I didn't want to put a lot of pressure on myself. I just wanted to do my best to race. I wanted to make sure it always about having fun because it can get super intense, especially with rivalries."
Kiki Lindsay came in second in the 500 free and ninth in the 100 breastroke. Trainer was fourth in the 50 free. Dodson did work in the 200 free, finishing fourth. And the foursome was fast and fierce when it mattered most, winning the 200 and 400 free relays on top of a silver medal in the 200-medley relay. The Apollos pride themselves in the team-fused events. The races themselves are worth twice as many points as the individuals, so naturally, there is an incentive. But for Sunset the relays represent the one chance to truly team up, mix their respective talents and abilities in a single pot and put it all on the line for their squadmates. There is power in that alliance.
"The energy is always super crazy, and we just feed off of each other, which makes it really exciting," Tia Lindsay said. "The 400 free always a highlight for me because it's at the end and it's always so close like you know it's going to be. It's a really fun legacy to have fun."
Sunset has won five straight 200 and 400 free relays and it shouldn't be a surprise when it comes time to unite, the Apollos peak. Heading down the home stretch, in a neck-and-neck battle with Jesuit's Fay Marie Lustria, Tia Lindsay came off the turn on the anchor leg with ruthlessness. When Lindsay and Lustria reemerged from their underwaters, the senior Apollo was ahead with just 50 meters to go.
"Watching my younger sister (Tia), knowing I was diving into her leg and this was my last high school race ever, I just put it all out of my head and left everything in the pool," Tia Lindsay said. "If we got second, third, fourth, whatever. It didn't really matter because I was with my sister and my teammates and it was just a lot of fun."
The Sunset-Jesuit rivalry, one that over the years became contentious just because of the high stakes and proximity between the programs in terms of talent and location, has tamed this season, Tia Lindsay said. The iciness has seemingly melted as both teams sat in the same spaces at THAC and congratulated one another after most races, win or lose.
"It was a lot more easygoing and fun this year, which I really, really liked," Tia Lindsay said. "It made it all like 'We're all Oregon swimmers' instead of different teams."
For more on the Class 6A state championship meet, please visit www.beavertonvalleytimes.com.
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