Head coach Eric Laitinen looks ahead at the season for both his swim teams in the TRL

HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Senior Jarod Spencer returns to the team to lead the charge towards a league title. As one of the leaders, he and others will help the newer swimmers find their place on the team. The Canby swimming teams will be getting into the pool to compete in the Three Rivers League against its familiar foes. The team sent 16 representatives to the state meet last year, and will be returning a good number of familiar faces this year.

Returning to fold on the girls side of the team will be sophomore Mairen Chard, senior Kaitlyn Hester, senior Emma Evans, junior Kira Goepferd, sophomore Erin Meredith, and senior Madeline Meredith.

"Emma is one of the team captains (and) the other will be chosen before first swim meet," boys and girls head coach Eric Laitinen said. "Mairen, Kaitlyn, Kira and Erin all swam at state last year with Mairen and Kaitlyn having experience with swimming individually at state." HERALD PHOTO: COREY BUCHANAN - Canby senior Kaitlyn Hester returns to swim for the Cougars in the upcoming season as one of the leaders on the girls team.

For the boys side of things, the Cougars will have returning leaders senior Hudson Ehrich, senior Jarod Spencer, sophomore Jordan Spencer, senior Spencer Doman, junior Ben Plumb, and junior Bjorn Laitinen. Much like the girls team, the boys team has one captain named already in Ehrich, with another to be named a later time.

"Hudson and Jarod both swam at state last year and the others have a great deal of swimming experience and lead by example," Laitinen said.

Predicting where the swim teams and the swimmers will be at the end of the season will be entirely based on individual performances throughout the season. Laitinen says the team should be middle of pack, but individual progress will determine their success throughout the season. Another thing that will determine the outcome is simply showing up on race day.

"As usual success will be dependent on practices and meet attendance," Laitinen said. "We have some pretty large teams we compete against so often wins and losses come down to if we have all our swimmers at the meet and if they can stay healthy."

The toughest goes of the season are looking to be against the Lakeridge Pacers and the Lake Oswego Lakers.

"They have a lot of club swimmers which means a bunch of very fast swimmers," Laitinen said. "We can compete individually but usually don't have the numbers they do."

Among the returning faces are the a cast of new swimmers that look to make a splash this season, and will get the help of the veterans.

"All of the swimmers are very supportive of the other swimmers," Laitinen said. "They will cheer for the new swimmers and help them along the way."

The swim teams have their first meet Dec. 7 against the Newberg Tigers in the Canby Swim Center at 4 p.m.

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