Tualatin girls continue to make a big splash
The Tualatin High School girls swim team is determined.
The Timberwolves say that this is their year.
And, so far, it seems they very well could be right.
Tualatin, sparked by a strong group of senior swimmers, picked up another key league win, edging powerful St. Mary's Academy 87-83 in a Three Rivers League dual meet held Thursday at the Tualatin Swim Center.
"It's pretty amazing," said Tualatin senior Britney Muralt, who won triumphed in the 100-yard breaststroke event at the meet. "This season, so far, we've beat Lakeridge and St. Mary's, which are two of our biggest competitors, so I'd say we have a really good shot at district. Our biggest challenge after this is West Linn, and if we beat them, we have a pretty good shot at winning district."
"This is really big," said Tualatin senior Abbi Karsseboom, who won both the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke events. "Last year, we won one meet. This year, we're undefeated so far. It's our senior season, and there are a lot of girls who are seniors, and it's time to dominate. People need to be scared of us this year."
With the loss, St. Mary's moved to 1-2 in league meets. The Tualatin girls improved to 3-0 in TRL competition with the victory.
"I want one of those," Muralt said as she pointed to the league championship banners hanging on the wall at the Tualatin Swim Center. "This year, 2020, is our year."
"I'm excited," Karsseboom said. "This is really big."
The Tualatin girls got off to a fast start to the meet, as the Timberwolf team of senior Riley Hall, Muralt, senior Erika Farring and Karsseboom won the 200 medley relay — the first event of the meet — in a time of 1 minute, 59.29 seconds.
Then, in maybe the most competitive races of the meet, Karsseboom won the 200 freestyle in a time of 1:59.59, edging St. Mary's Eleanor Snyder, Karsseboom's teammate on the Tigard Tualatin Swim Club, who finished second in 1:59.68.
"It was good," Karsseboom said of that victory. "Eleanor and I actually swim together on club. Eleanor really pushes me, but I was like, 'I can't let her beat me.' So, even if it's by .02, it's good."
While also not nearly as closely contested, Karsseboom also picked up an impressive victory in the 100 backstroke, winning that race in a time of 1:04.24.
"The backstroke is my favorite stroke," Karsseboom said with a smile. "It was exciting."
One of the big races for the Tualatin girls at the meet was the 100 breaststroke event. Muralt, with a strong finish, won that race in 1:12.59. Farring was second at 1:16.94 and Timberwolf junior Sierra Kurth was fourth at 1:21.50.
"That was crazy," Muralt said. "The breaststroke hasn't been one of my best strokes, and I almost beat my best time today. It was racing with Erica, and I knew we needed the points, so that was my motivation in that 100."
Points certainly did matter — every single one of them.
And, knowing that, Muralt gave pep talks to her Tualatin teammates throughout the meet.
"I was saying that we could win this, because I was keeping track of the score throughout the meet," she said.
Tualatin senior Taylor Cockrell finished second in the 200 individual medley in 2:23.06. She also was second in the 100 freestyle in 1:01.38.
Farring took second place in the 100 butterfly in 1:02.49. Timberwolf junior Grace Oh sprinted to second place in the 50 freestyle in 28.38.
Tualatin junior Sarah Shepherd was third in the 200 individual medley in 2:37.35. Shepherd also was third in the 500 freestyle with a mark of 6:19.15.
Junior Esther Ho was third in the 100 freestyle in 1:04.43. Hall was third in the 50 freestyle in 29.15.
Karsseboom, Cockrell, Farring and Muralt teamed to take second place in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:51.70. In the 200 freestyle relay, the Tualatin combination of Oh, senior Elle Sherman, Ho and Cockrell finished second with a mark of 1:55.30.
"This meet was amazing. It was really great," Muralt said. "We had a lot of fun. We were all positive. We were all dancing around and motivating each other. Yeah, we were having a lot of fun."
The Tualatin girls and boys teams will be back in action on Jan. 16, when they face Canby in a Three Rivers League dual meet starting at 4 p.m. at the Canby Swim Center.
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