Tigard swim teams boast some strong returnees
TIGARD — With some strong returnees and some promising newcomers ready to go, it looks like the Tigard High School swim teams have reason for optimism going into the 2018-19 season.
"The Tigard teams, this year, are off to a good start," Tigard coach John Ruzicka said.
The Tigard boys team, which finished in eighth place at last year's Three Rivers League district championships, will be looking to step up this year.
"I have a small boys team, with four very solid swimmers, being led by senior Ben Miller," Ruzicka said.
Miller, who recently signed a national letter of intent to swim at the collegiate level at Northwestern University, is coming off a very solid junior season. Last year, Miller won the Three Rivers League district meet title in the 100-yard butterfly event with a meet-record time of 49.80 seconds. He also won a district-meet crown in the 200 individual medley.
Miller went on to take third place in the 200 individual medley at the Class 6A state meet with a school-record mark of 1:51.60 — besting the old Tigard school record held by Ruzicka. Miller also took second place in the 100 butterfly at last year's state meet.
Also for the Tigard boys, senior Cameron Williamson will lead the way in the sprint events. Senior Eli Maher could also be a key swimmer for the Tigers.
"He has shown a ton of growth already this year, and should do well in the breaststroke events for us," Ruzicka said.
Sophomore Nathaniel Whitehead will specialize in the backstroke and freestyle events. He took fifth place in the 100 backstroke at last year's TRL district meet.
Sophomore Jaden Nguyen should compete in the breaststroke and medley events for the Tigers. Freshmen Noah Vu, Joseph Oldham and Ryan Bell bring some swimming experience to the team.
The Tigard girls team, which finished in seventh place in the team standings at last year's district meet, looks to have talent and depth going into the season.
"The girls have a large tea, with some solid returners," Ruzicka said. "Seniors Kaitlyn Wornath, Sahana Savarvan and Catherine Frisiras will lead the team this season."
Wornath is coming off a junior year that saw her finish in third place in the 100 butterfly at the district meet, and then take third place in that event at the Class 6A state meet, with a school-record mark of 57.42.
Frisiras will swim in the distance events for the Tigers. She finished fifth in the 200 freestyle, and seventh in the 500 freestyle, at last year's district meet. Saravanan will compete in the medley and freestyle sprint events. Last year, Saravanan finished sixth in the 100 breaststroke and seventh in the 200 individual medley at the district meet.
Newcomer Abbigale Elliott could be another key swimmer for the Tigard girls.
"She will shine in the breaststroke, but may swim a little bit of everything," Ruzicka said.
Junior Emma Vu, sophomores MacKenzie Guentert, Paige Colligan and Jaime Cavalli and freshman Kate Houston should also contribute for the Tigard girls.
As for the Three Rivers League, there should be some strong competition ahead for the Tigers.
"Adding Oregon City into our league is the big mystery this season," Ruzicka said. "I think they will compare to Newberg who left, but I am unsure how they will place. Our boys team will be fighting at the bottom with the Tualatin team this year and girls will hopefully place somewhere in the top half of our league. Ben Miller and Kaitlyn Wornath should have great showings at the state meet and hopefully we can take a few more individual and relays along with them."
The Tigard teams will open their season Dec. 6, when they host Lakeridge in a Three Rivers League dual meet starting at 4 p.m. at the Tigard Aquatic Center.