State qualification are on the line as the Sisters Outlaws swim team heads to District this weekend at South Albany High School. Sisters will face off with the best from the other 10 schools in Special District 3 this Friday and Saturday. The top finishers in each of the individual and relay events will advance to the Oregon State Championships set for February 15 and 16 at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center. In addition, the remaining 11 state spots in each event will be filled based on times from the four 4A/3A/2A/1A Special Districts.

Teams in the district include Cascade, Blanchet Catholic, Salem Academy, Kennedy, Junction City, Marist, North Marion, Philomath, Stayton, and Sweet Home.

At District, all entrants swim on the first day, with the top 12 finishers moving on to finals on Saturday.

Coach Bryn Singleton has her line-up ready and feels her swimmers are ready to go. Since swimmers can take part in both relays and individual events she has her athletes fully loaded up. "As a coaching staff, we decide on events based both on times and each swimmer's personal preference," said Singleton. "Both the boys and girls teams have come together to have both strong relays and strong performances in individual events.

Last year, Brooke Robillard, Meredith Mandal, Lydia Bartlett and Hawley Harrer formed a formidable foursome both at districts and state, especially in the relay events. This year, we had the tough task of filling Hawley's spot on the relays. Sophomore Madeline Busick has stepped up and worked hard on her freestyle stroke and will be swimming with Brooke, Meredith and Lydia in both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays."

She continued, "Brooke is hoping to round out her high school swimming career by again qualifying for state in her main event: the 100 breaststroke. Also a senior, Meredith is going after the school record in the 100 butterfly.

"Additionally," she said, "after an amazingly close second-place finish in state last year in the 500 freestyle, Junior Lydia Bartlett will again be looking to qualify for state in the 500 freestyle. Junior Laura Clem will also swim the 500 freestyle at Districts, hoping to continue her streak of PRs in recent weeks. Freshman Cambrie Leaver will swim the 200 IM and 100 backstroke at her first high school district meet and I expect her to likely be adding valuable team points for our team."

On the boys' side, Sisters should have strong performances in both relay and individual events, according to Singleton.

"Sam Mayes, Osmond Bates, Austen Heuberger and Gavin Todd will swim together in both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays," she said. "All four have been working hard on their technique and consistently lowering their times."

Along with Felix Leahy, Singleton has three other boys - Mayes, Todd, and Heuberger - who will be competing in the medley relay as well. In addition, those three will sprint the 50-yard freestyle, where hundredths of seconds may separate the top spots.

Singleton added, "Bates is hoping to continue his progress in the 100 breaststroke, and junior Connor Crowe will compete in both the 200 and 100 freestyle, where he continues to show significant progress each season."

In her final comments about her athletes Singleton said, "Swimming at their best, the boys all have a great chance of making it to District finals and having a stronger showing as a team at District than Sisters has had in a long time."

Singleton knows that her squad cannot go head to head with schools like Sweet Home and Salem Academy for a team title, but she knows that her swimmers will give their very best. "The Sisters swimmers are ready to compete and will be aiming for personal bests as well as some state

qualifications."

Singleton ended on a philosophical note. "Most importantly, regardless of final place or time, the most enjoyable part of every season for me as a coach is to watch each swimmer progress and grow in confidence. Watching them practice and compete is rewarding and fun but, best of all, is getting to know each one outside of the pool as well. Every year, it is so hard to watch the seniors graduate, but it is equally as fun to meet the new swimmers to the team."