I covered Richland's Lisa Bratton and Othello's Natilee Ruiz during the girls high school swimming season, when they won state titles and set school records. Having qualified for this summer's U.S. Olympic Trials, both girls clearly are on their way up in the world.
The Tri-City Channel Cats teammates have continued their rise this week at the American Short Course Championships in Austin, Texas.
Bratton won the women's 400-yard individual medley Friday, finishing in 4 minutes, 19.10 seconds. That was more than 5 seconds faster than Californian Chloe Isleta. Bratton also took third in the 100 backstroke (56.05 seconds), ahead of Ruiz (fifth, 57.40) and Walla Walla's Emma Timm-Ballard (seventh, 58.80).
Ruiz was second in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:50.81, just behind Nevada’s Sammy Harrison (1:49.81).
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Bratton finished fifth and Ruiz sixth in the women’s 200 IM on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Nicole Weinman (Richland) placed 10th in the 500 free and 12th in the 200 free.
It's cool to see Mid-Columbia swimmers making an impact nationally, and it might only be a matter of time till they hit the global scene.