La Salle Swim Takes First Place Finish at Districts, 10 Swimmers Advance to State


Cameron Irish

Both the boys and girls swim team emerged as champions at the district meet.

Carlie Weigel and Maddie Khaw

On Friday, Feb. 14 and Saturday, Feb. 15, the girls and boys swim teams competed for district titles at the NWOC District meet at Parkrose High School. Both teams finished in first place, with freshman Sidney Lefranc being named the district’s co-female swimmer of the year and head coach Paul Collins the district’s boys Coach of the Year.

As a result of the meet, 11 La Salle swimmers qualified for the state championship, which will take place Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22 at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center.

Some members attribute this season’s success to new head coach Mr. Paul Collins.

“I feel like this year he kind of reignited the fire for the team and got us going again,” junior and state qualifier Toby Schram said. “He was really supportive and uplifting. He wasn’t just like a coach, he was also like one of our teammates, if that makes sense. He would help us when we had problems. He’d stop us and talk to us.”

In addition to this, the team’s support for one another helped them to succeed. Although swimmers compete individually with the exception of relays, senior co-captain Lucas Wobig emphasized how teammates encourage each other in the same way players are supported in team sports.  

Kalei Carter
Kenny Nguyen, Elliot Hansen, Duc Bui, and David Jensen are advancing to the state championship.

“I mean, it’s just like a soccer game — you have your own fans, except [with] our team, we are each other’s fans,” he said. “I might be swimming the breaststroke, but every time I come above the water I hear my entire team yelling ‘go,’ and it’s like a boost of encouragement. So even though I’m not passing the ball to another teammate, we still have this connection.” 

Schram said that with this strong camaraderie, they encourage each other, pushing teammates to “swim harder and swim faster.”

In preparation for districts, coaches had swimmers practice their stroke work, focusing on technique and streamline. They also made sure to taper down the week before in order to be adequately rested. 

“Our main focus was preparing ourselves mentally, and relaxing both our body and our minds,” senior co-captain Hanna Nguyen said.

One aspect of mental preparation for Nguyen and some of her teammates involves superstitions. Nguyen made sure to wear only red and blue, painting her nails and allowing teammates to draw on her back in those shades. 

In addition to being superstitious about colors, Nguyen is also superstitious about what she eats. Specifically, she finds herself performing well after eating bananas. For example, she ate 12 bananas over the course of the two days of districts. 

Cameron Irish
The boys and girls swim teams cheered each other on throughout the district meet.

“The more bananas I have, the better I do,” she said. “Little superstitious things affect your mental view of how you’re going to perform, and I think it shows through.” 

Outside of the pool, team members took on their own methods to prepare themselves physically and mentally for the competition. Several members of the boys team shaved off all their body hair to reduce drag. 

Wobig even changed his diet during the weeks leading up to the meet. He specifically cut out soda, Taco Bell, pizza, and McDonalds.

While each team had hopes of doing well at the meet, the outcome was greater than anyone had anticipated. “Both teams won,” said English teacher and swim coach Mr. Paul Dreisbach. “That’s not what I was expecting. To be honest with you, I didn’t really go in with that in mind. I just wanted to see people swim well and feel good. 

Dreisbach wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Schram thought the team would struggle in opposition to their competitors. “I don’t think we expected to get district champs, especially since we were going against good schools like Scappoose and Wilsonville, who have really good swimmers on their team as well.”

Although the team’s first place achievements were unexpected, swimmers still felt beyond thrilled.

Cameron Irish
Out of superstition, several members of the swim team painted on their faces with red and blue.

“I was just on pure adrenaline when we heard that we had won and getting the award,” freshman Sidney Lefranc said. I felt so happy. I think all of us did. We just wanted to celebrate forever.”

Dreisbach was especially impressed with everyone’s performance. “One of the most important outcomes to me was the number of swimmers who did not win their district event, who did not go to finals in the district event, who will not go to state, but who… got [a] personal record on that Friday,” he said. “I wanted to see them do well, and I wanted to see those people feel like they had a good swim.”

For most seniors, swim season has come to an end forever. The seniors advancing to state, however, will swim their final laps during the state competition.

“I love swimming so much, and I’m just going to miss it,” Nguyen said. “I don’t know how else to say it. [At state] I just have to get into that mental state of thinking positively and not really focusing on speed or time, but rather just trying my best, and going out there and giving it all I have because it’s literally going to be the last meet of my entire life.”

These swimmers are advancing to state:

  • Freshman Duc Bui (200 Yard Freestyle, 100 Yard Butterfly, 200 Yard Freestyle Relay, 400 Yard Freestyle Relay)
  • Freshman Mag Greer (200 Yard IM, 100 Yard Freestyle, 200 Yard Freestyle Relay, 200 Yard Freestyle Relay)
  • Freshman Nik Jelusic (200 Yard Medley Relay)
  • Freshman Sidney Lefranc (200 Yard Freestyle, 100 Yard Butterfly, 200 Yard Freestyle Relay, 400 Yard Freestyle Relay)
  • Junior Elliot Hansen (200 Yard Medley Relay, 500 Yard Freestyle, 200 Yard Freestyle Relay, 400 Yard Freestyle Relay)
  • Junior David Jensen (200 Yard Freestyle Relay, 400 Yard Freestyle Relay)
  • Junior Toby Schram (200 Yard Medley Relay, 200 Yard Freestyle Relay)
  • Junior Zach Williams (200 Yard Medley Relay)
  • Junior Aislinn McCarthy (200 Yard Freestyle Relay, 400 Yard Freestyle Relay)
  • Senior Hanna Nguyen (200 Yard Freestyle Relay, 200 Yard Freestyle Relay)
  • Senior Kenny Nguyen (400 Yard Freestyle Relay)

Correction: Feb. 20, 2020

An earlier version of this story made an incorrect reference to the number of swimmers who qualified for state. Junior Aislinn McCarthy will also be competing.