COOS BAY — Zach Randle is a relative late-comer to swimming.
The Marshfield senior didn’t grow up spending extensive time in club swimming every year, but managed a successful high school career anyway.
Now he has a chance to continue the sport at Southwestern Oregon Community College.
Randle signed a letter of intent to compete for the Lakers and looks forward to improving as a swimmer.
“I’m very excited to swim for them,” he said. “For me, it’s a huge opportunity.
“I am looking forward to swimming in such a competitive environment.”
During the recent state meet, Randle placed third in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 52.15 seconds. He also was sixth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:13.97. He swam a new best of 5:06.78 in that event during the preliminaries at state.
Randle said he is not sure if he will swim distances or shorter races for the Lakers.
“I really don’t have a preference,” he said. “It’s kind of where they need me, I will swim.”
But one thing is sure.
“I’m a freestyler,” he said. “That’s the one spot I will be staying.”
Randle said he didn’t readily embrace swimming the distance races at Marshfield.
“I got into distance because no one on the team could swim distance,” he said.
His first effort at the 500, he said, was in the range of 6 minutes and 30 seconds.
“Coach Kathe (McNutt) was like, ‘Hey Zach, we can improve this time, so you get to swim the 500 from now on. You can drop so much time on these.’”
And the 500 looked easy, “so casual for me,” he recalled.
Randle also can sprint. He was the anchor leg on both Marshfield relays. The 400 freestyle relay team finished third and the 200 freestyle relay was sixth at state.
SWOCC coach Sandra Bullock said Randle could shine with the Lakers, who had a fabulous season this year.
“I am excited to have Zach join us,” she said. “He is one of those athletes who is still relatively new to the sport with a ton of potential.
“Most importantly, from all of our meetings and everything I have learned from his high school coaches, he has a great work ethic, tons of leadership potential, and is a young man of great character excited to be a part of something bigger than himself.
“I believe he will be a great fit for our team culture.”
Randle is looking forward to getting to work with the Lakers in the fall.
“I’m looking forward to the competition,” he said. “I think it will help me push myself.”
He also looks forward to having a new batch of teammates — that was his favorite element about Marshfield’s squad — and meeting the international students who are on the team.
His plan is to study computer engineering.