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With a handful of state qualifiers returning, Cougars will need rapid improvement to compete in TRL

ARCHIVE PHOTO - Canby's Mairen Chard is one of the strong swimmers returning to the team this season, and will lead the team against the tough TRL competition. 
Coach: Eric Laitinen

Key losses: Jarod Spencer, Emma Evans, Kaitlyn Hester,

Key returners: Mairen Chard, Erin Meredith, Kira Goepferd, Jordan Spencer, Thomas Diggles, Bjorn Laitinen

Outlook: In the shark pool that is the Three Rivers League (TRL), Canby will once again face stiff competition in the water.

After graduating senior Jarod Spencer on the boys team and Emma Evans and Kaitlyn Hester on the girls side of things, all of whom qualified for the state meet last year, Canby will look to returning varsity swimmers to lead the way.

For the girls' team, returning state qualifier Mairen Chard, Kira Goepfred, and Erin Meredith will be the driving force for Canby. Their skills will be complemented by fellow returners such as senior Emma Vandecoevering, sophomore Elora Paulson, senior Lauryn Crum, and junior Natalie Doman. There will also be host of younger, up-and-coming swimmers head coach Eric Laitinen hopes will make a big splash in league meets.

"New swimmers on the team I expect to help a lot are (sophomore) Alison Parsons, and (freshmen) Alora Robbins and Halana Crispin," Laitinen said. "I'm sure there will be a few surprises also as we have a lot of new faces."

On the boys' team, returning swimmers will include junior Jordan Spencer, senior Bjorn Laitinen, and junior Thomas Diggles. Like their female counterparts, the coach expects newer swimmers to contribute to the team in big ways, particularly from freshmen Conner and Hunter DeRisio, Jack Haywurst, and Brandon Slater.

With an influx of so many new swimmers, Laitinen expects the teams be challenged by the strong league competition. While Tualatin and Oregon City usually field strong squads, the Lake Oswego and Lakeridge teams figure to be the teams to beat for a league title with several club swimmers in their ranks.

For Canby, the name of the game at this stage is individual and group improvement.

"This looks like a very fun team to coach this year with a lot of new swimmers, (so) it should be fun to see how much improvement we make as a team," Laitinen said.

First Meet: Dec. 6 @ Lake Oswego, 4:45p

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