Swim Teams Gear Up for Metro Championships

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The girls’ varsity swim team has a record of 6-1, losing only to Sunset. Both boys’ and girls’ teams will be competing in the Metro League championships Feb. 14-15 at Tualatin Hills. Prelims are on Friday at 3:30 p.m. and finals are Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m.

One of the team’s strongest swimmers is freshman Laura Epperson. Her individual events include the 100 fly, 100 back, 500 free, and the 200 free. She has won all but one race.

Epperson is a club swimmer for the Tualatin Hills Thunderbolts, rated one of the top 50 clubs by USA Swimming. Epperson has numerous A times, which qualifies her for state championship meets. She also has senior sectional cuts in the 1500, 1000, 800, 500, 200 free and the 200 fly. Senior sectional cuts are time standards that swimmers must reach to attend a meet that includes teams from the western section of the United States.

When Epperson was six, her swim lesson teacher recommended she join a team. She was the only one who could across the pool with no help. Since then Epperson has  taken her swimming to a new level. She practices every day but Sunday for at least two hours. The discipline required for her sport has taught her to not give up when things gets hard.

Epperson says she swims because it’s her hobby. “It is my favorite sport,” she said, “and I don’t think I could possibly do a different one.”

Mikha Kaiel is the new swim coach; he has been coaching high school teams for 13 years. “Even though I could tell she was a strong swimmer, I was surprised by her speed,” he said. Kaiel hopes Epperson will qualify for state in the 500 free (5:01) and the 100 fly (0:58). Based on last year’s results, these best times give her a good shot of making it to the competition.