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Brothers give Interlake a leg-up | Duo hoping to get back to state in 2013
For any prep athlete, competing at state is the measure of success and the culmination of an arduous, lengthy journey.
The trip was even longer for Joe and Michael Lorr.
The brothers and members of the Interlake swim and dive team began their forays in the pool halfway around the world in Beijing, China, where their father worked with an oil company. Joe was born overseas and younger brother Michael also spent time there after being born in the U.S. Both said the intensity, even at the youth level, was apparent in China and serves as a point of reference now.
"I remember one race we didn't win in Taiwan," Michael said. "Our coach got really mad and punched a pole."
While their introduction to swimming was not exactly age-appropriate, the two quickly realized getting in the pool was a great way for them to connect.
When the family moved to Bellevue in 2010, Michael joined a team and the YMCA and soon persuaded big brother to follow suit. Michael reached high school last year and the two were rejoined in the pool as the Saints made it all the way to the 2A state tournament, in no small part to the Lorr brothers.
Joe made the field in the 200 individual medley, 200 free relay and 100 fly while Michael swam the 200 medley relay, finished eighth in the finals of the 100 backstroke and joined his brother on the 400 free relay team. Both said the introduction to the state's biggest stage for prep swimming has served as motivation throughout the offseason.
Michael recently joined a club swimming team to train and compete year-round. Joe doesn't have that option with a mounting list of tasks to complete for college entrance and his final year of high school. That means this year's 3A state meet will be the last chance the two have to swim alongside one another, as they have for most of their lives.
Interlake coach Christina Hunsberger said while their times have been impressive, it has been their leadership and infusion of energy to the program that has been most valuable.
"You can just tell they are having a great time with each other and the rest of the team," she said. "They are magnificent swimmers, but they bring a sense of humbleness."
With graduation only a few months away, the pair know they will soon be separated in the pool and at home. Neither are taking this final opportunity to compete with one another for granted.
"He's a lot better than me when I was that age," Joe said. "He has a lot of potential and could go really far."
Michael said he continues to take lessons from Joe in the pool, classroom and at home.
"He is there to help me with stuff I don't understand in school," he said. "In practice, when I'm swimming next to him, I seem to go faster and try harder. I'm really going to miss him."
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