St. Mary's Academy photo
Maranda Alf-Huynh
St. Mary's Academy photo
Maranda Alf-Huynh
The St. Mary’s Academy swim team graduated a number of top swimmers last year.

The list includes Ellena Basada, who held the Mount Hood Conference Swimmer of the Year title two years in a row, and Alexis Perry, a reliably quick backstroker. This year, the swimming Blues will look to senior and co-captain Maranda Alf-Huynh and junior Rory Kearns to lead the team to the OSAA state meet in February.  

The team is large this year: 42 swimmers strong, with many freshmen and sophomores among the ranks.

“The best part about running a team this big is seeing the girls coalesce into a cohesive group by the end of the season,” head coach Jen Brigham said.

Brigham encourages the team captains to lead the squad in cheers and team-building exercises and to set a tone at practice that demands swimmers push themselves while having fun.  

What makes the St. Mary’s swim team different from most sports at the school is that the only requirement to join is a commitment to attend practice, compete in meets and work hard. Consequently, novice swimmers often see significant improvement by the end of the season. It’s not unusual to see a swimmer drop as much as 10 seconds from her 50-yard freestyle between the first and final meets.

For swimmers who join the team with more experience, they too find themselves improving stroke and turn techniques, leading to faster times. Senior and co-captain Sarah Madison is one such example.

“When I started swimming at SMA, I had some experience and was decent. However, over the last three years, my turns have gotten a lot quicker, and my stroke is smoother,” Madison said.

Madison placed in the top 16 in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events at last year’s Mount Hood Conference District Championship. She has become a core member of the squad and provides inspiration for the talented freshmen who joined the team this year.  

Other experienced St. Mary’s swimmers such as Sophia Hatzikos, Natalie Kowell, co-captain Karen Myers, Sammi Redder and Cecilia Sahnow will contribute to the team’s depth.

“I’m positive that our returning swimmers, many of whom are great team players, will lead the younger swimmers as we move forward with the season,” Brigham said. “I expect this kind of leadership to foster continued success in the pool.”   

St. Mary's Academy swim meet schedule
Jan. 10 — away vs. Gresham
Jan. 17 — away vs. Reynolds
Jan. 29 — away vs. Central Catholic at Centennial
Jan. 31 — away vs. Centennial