Valley duo make waves at Nationals

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SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - When Kendra Fowler and Shelby Seydell hit the pool recently at the National Junior Disabled Sports Championships in Mesa, Ariz., they left their competition in their wake.

The two athletes from Snoqualmie Valley not only took home a bevy of medals, one of them even set a national record.

Fowler, who will be a sophomore at Mount Si High School this fall, brought home seven medals, four of which were gold, and in the process set a national record. She placed first in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events, the 4x25-meter individual medley, and the 50-meter breaststroke, where she set the record with a winning time of just over 1:01.

Fowler and Seydell, who will be attending Snoqualmie Middle School in the fall as a seventh-grader, combined to finish first in the 200-meter freestyle relay, and the 4x50-meter individual medley relay. In addition, Fowler collected second-place medals in the 50-meter and 100-meter backstroke, and the 200-meter freestyle competitions.

Seydell, who competed in a different class than Fowler (the athletes are divided according to their physical ability), brought home five first-place medals along with one for second place. Seydell won first place in the 100- and 200-meter freestyle events, 50-meter backstroke, 50-meter butterfly, and the 100-meter individual medley events. She finished second in the 50-meter freestyle.

Seydell's mother, Lyn, says it was quite an experience for her daughter.

"It's like a week of total success," Lyn Seydell said.

For Fowler, who has been swimming much of her young life, mostly out at the Si View pool in North Bend, this was beyond her wildest dreams.

"It's really cool to show my friends," Fowler said.

Fowler and Seydell, both members the Shadow Seals swim team coached by Kiko Van Zandt who works at Seattle's Children's Hospital, also train at Renton's Lindberg High School. The Seals are affiliated with Northwest Wheelchair Sports.

Seydell has been in the pool a long time as well, and both Fowler and Seydell are on the swim team at Si View.

Lyn Seydell added that "they enjoy competing against each other."

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