Lindsey Soule could not wait until she was old enough to join the Corvallis Aquatic Team.

She watched her sister, Erin McCown, swim for a year or so before she turned six and was able to get the pool with the CAT swimmers.

Swimming was a way for Soule to move with grace, while she sometimes found herself out of sorts when out of the water.

"I'm kind of a clumsy person on land and swimming was always just something that felt natural to me and the water was always like, I could move more freely," Soule said. "Swimming always came naturally to me and felt right."

Through the years, Soule became a strong competitor in the sport with CAT and at Crescent Valley High.

Soule, now a senior, has been among the top swimmers at the 5A level for a few seasons.

The Mid-Willamette Conference district meet is coming up this Friday and Saturday and the state meet will follow.

Next year it will be on to the University of Nevada for Soule.

The Raiders girls will be strong favorites in the district meet and could contend for the state title.

"I think it's really cool to see how our team has grown as I've been a part of it going from I think like sixth to fourth to second and then having a pretty good chance of winning this year," Soule said.

"Second last year was really cool for us and beating the Bend teams is something, they're our main competition and they're good competition."

The CV girls are deep, but Soule is a prime factor in the Raiders' quest for a championship.

As a junior last year, Soule won the 200 freestyle at the 5A state meet with a time of 1 minute, 52.54 seconds and was first in the 500 freestyle in 5:02.66.

Soule helped the Raiders to second at the state meet in the 200 medley relay along with Reina Watkins, Sarah Cordier and Rylie Ball and second in the 400 freestyle relay with Watkins, Paula Lomonaco and Chloe Bowman.

In the 2016 meet, Soule took the 500 freestyle title in 5:00.30 and finished second in the 100 backstroke in 57.19.

Soule, Watkins, Ball and Rachel Shaw finished fourth in the 200 medley relay and the Raiders were third in the 400 freestyle relay with Bowman, Cordier, Watkins and Soule.

As a freshman in 2015, Soule finished second in the 500 freestyle in 5:00.76 and second in the 100 backstroke in 58.58.

Soule helped CV to sixth in the 200 medley relay along with Jenny Pinard, Nicole Koski and Watkins, and fifth in the 400 freestyle relay with Watkins, Bowman and Pinard.

"It's been really cool to see our team grow and to see the freshmen come in every year and step up and to see the people in my grade and the grades below me just step up to the plate," Soule said.

Soule's experience with CAT has translated well to high school competition.

She has been able to compete against top swimmers throughout the Pacific Northwest and nationally.

Soule participated in junior nationals three times, going to Austin, Texas, and College Station, Texas, for meets the two previous years before competing in Iowa City in December. She finished 14th in the 500 and 12th in the mile in that meet.

"The first year was really good for me," Soule said. "I dropped time in all my events. So that was really a cool first meet for me, the first time going to juniors. And I've done well the other two years as well."

Soule said she'll swim five or six events in big club meets and will hit every event throughout her mid-season meets.

She swims two events in high school meets and will compete in the 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke in the postseason, along with two relays.

Soule will head to Nevada for school in the fall.

Oregon State was never really in the running for Soule, who wanted to experience a school outside of the state.

She planned on taking recruiting trips to four schools and went to Reno first. She was quickly convinced that she had found her new home.

She liked the connection she had with the coaches and team members.

"They have a lot of international athletes, so they have a lot of diversity and different kinds of people on their team," Soule said. "So those were the things that drew me to Nevada."

Soule did make a trip to Colorado State, and while she liked the campus and Fort Collins, it simply reinforced her decision.

"I ended up cancelling my other two because I think Nevada's the place for me," she said.

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