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By Raenelle Kwock

Observer Staff Writer

La Grande High Schools swim team seeks to shatter state records, dart to individual titles, get redemption and eliminate all doubt about whos best at this weeks OSAA-U.S. Bank Class 3A/2A/1A State Swimming Championships in Gresham.

I think well do really well, swimmer Brenton Dowdy said. I think we should win the state.

Dowdy, who is a sophomore, is seeded first in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100 butterfly, and he is also on the top-seeded 200 medley relay team.

Our relays are looking in great shape, swimmer Justin Howland said. Howland, a senior, is also a member of the medley relay team.

The relay events score double points, and La Grande won the medley relay and was second in the 200 freestyle relay last year, a large factor in the Tigers winning their first state swimming title.

Howland, Matt Hibbert and Owen Kenton swam on those teams, and Dowdys addition to the medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay this year makes La Grande the favorite again. La Grande is seeded first in the 400 freestyle relay and seeded 12th in the 200 freestyle relay.

La Grande swim coach David Deming said the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle events will be exciting in the boys competition.

Howland is seeded 11th in the 100 freestyle, but Deming said Howland, like all other state finalists, is capable of doing anything.

I think the kids can do it, Deming said.

Hibbert won the state 100 butterfly last year and is the second seed in the 100 backstroke this year and fourth in the 200 freestyle.

The girls second place finish in the district tournament last weekend still stirs excitement, and they have expectations for the state meet.

I want to go out with a bang, said senior Mandy Randolph.

Randolph wants to make the state championship a last comeback after not doing well at district.

She is looking forward to participating in the 100 butterfly because she wants to decrease her time after taking fourth at state last year.

Deming is happy that two of his younger swimmers, freshmen Megan Dickison and Kelsey Woodfield, will get some exposure at the championship meet. Dickison and Woodfield are both on the 200 medley relay team.

Our relays for girls have a good shot of getting in to Saturdays championship finals, Deming said.

Randolph and sophomore Elizabeth Esser are also on that team.

Im totally excited, and Im really happy that Im getting the opportunity to go, Esser said.

Senior swimmer Carrie Waldrop said she is unsure of how the girls will do at the state championships.

I have no idea, Waldrop said. It just depends on how (our) relay improves.

State Finalists

(includes relay alternates)

Carrie Waldrop 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay, 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke.

Mandy Randolph 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay, 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly.

Elizabeth Esser 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay, 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle.

Megan Dickison 400 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay.

Jenny Villani 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay.

Kelsey Woodfield 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay.

Justin Howland 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay, 100 freestyle, 400 freestyle relay.

Dylan Botham 200 individual medley, 200 freestyle relay, 100 breaststroke, 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay.

Michael Esser 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay, 500 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 400 freestyle relay.

Brenton Dowdy 200 medley relay, 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay.

Owen Kenton 200 individual medley, 200 freestyle relay, 500 freestyle, 400 freestyle relay.

Matt Hibbert 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay.

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