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Maverick junior wins the 200-yard freestyle for first state title in school history

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Mountainside junior Jessica Maeda won a Class 6A state championship in the 200-yard freestyle.

Once the butterflies quit fluttering intensely found a safe landing spot in Jessica Maeda's stomach, right around the time she hit the water jumping into the Class 6A state championship 200-freestyle final, the Mountainside star lit it up.

The Maverick swam a blistering 1:50.41 to earn the first state championship in school history while warranting a time that's under All-American consideration at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center on Feb. 22. On top of the 200 free triumphant, the Mountainside junior took second in the 100-yard breastroke to bring her two-race point total up to 18 just on her own. That tally was good enough to clinch 13th place overall for Mountainside, who for the second season in a row, was again a one young woman show. In the years to come there will surely be more Maverick swimmers migrating to the state stage, maybe as soon as next season. But for now, Maeda is the solo star making history and setting an exemplar for future generations. Maeda is a fast starter who likes to get out front early, set the pace and push from there. The back of her race, Maeda said, was better as she was able to fend off Southridge senior star Anna Jorgensen, who took second overall.

"It feels really good to be representing my school in a positive way," Maeda said. "I hope I can do that next year, bring back another state championship, hopefully, two."

Standing the ready area, waiting with her fellow competitors to be walked out to the pool deck, Maeda said she could feel the nerves start to grab hold of her stomach. They persisted as she took her spot behind the starting blocks as each swimmer was announced. But Maeda is a competitor who thrives under pressure. She wanted to do well, for herself, her family which is well-known in the Beaverton area swimming community, for her school. It was the antithesis of apathy. She yearned for a state title. It meant something deeper than just a medal and a time to Maeda. Her pre-swim angst was out of devotion, not fear.

"That's just because I love the sport and I care about it, that's why it happens," Maeda said. "Normally when I get in the water, it all goes away and works out pretty well. I came in wanting to win, wanting to throw down the best time, which I almost did and I'm happy with the results."

Jorgensen also took third in the 100-yard freestyle and helped Southridge scored 15 points to placed 13th overall.

For more on the Class 6A state championship meet, please visit www.beavertonvalleytimes.com.

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Mountainside junior Jessica Maeda won a Class 6A state championship in the 200-yard freestyle and took second in the 100-yard breaststroke.


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