Friday, August 17 , 2018, 3:06 am | Fair 69º

 
 
 
 

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Swimming Together Suits These Longtime Teammates Just Fine

Santa Barbara High's Lolo Blair and Lindsay Parrish will continue their swimming careers, together, at USC.

Lindsay Parrish, left, and Lolo Blair have been stars at Santa Barbara High but will suit up for USC next year.
Lindsay Parrish, left, and Lolo Blair have been stars at Santa Barbara High but will suit up for USC next year. (Cathy Rowell / Noozhawk photo)

You could say Lolo Blair and Lindsay Parrish go way back. But at this point, that’s probably an understatement for the two standout senior swimmers at Santa Barbara High.

Given their shared background, similar athletic abilities, tendency to finish each other’s sentences — even the nice ring of their first names when uttered in the same phrase — Lolo and Lindsay might as well be sisters.

Both grew up a couple of miles away from each other in Hope Ranch, with parents who have known each other since they were students at UCSB.

At age 6, they began trick-or-treating together, an annual tradition they maintained until outgrowing that particular mode of acquiring candy.

For years, their families have celebrated holidays together in Sun Valley, Idaho, where the girls learned to snowboard.

Last month, their families created yet another mutual memory: a celebration at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for an outstanding achievement. Both girls had just signed on to swim for USC.

Both are excited about the adventure that lies ahead, although Lolo admits she’s a little nervous, as well.

“It’ll be different not living with your parents, and just really being responsible, and taking care of ourselves,” said Lolo, sitting with Lindsay at the South Coast Deli on Chapala Street, an hour or so before swim practice.

“But,” interjected Lindsay, “we’re only like an hour and a half away.”

The hardest thing about the good news, Lindsay said, is staying motivated to attend high school.

“It’s hard to wake up in the morning and go to school,” she quipped. “But it’s our senior year, so it’s more relaxed.”

From left, Lolo Blair, Lindsay Parrish, Rayanne Nguyen and Michelle Dockendorf are all family at the Santa Barbara Swim Club. In high school, though, Blair and Parrish swim for Santa Barbara High while Dockendorf and Nguyen lead rival Dos Pueblos. Blair and Parrish are bound for USC, Nguyen is headed to Fresno State and Dockendorf is a junior.
From left, Lolo Blair, Lindsay Parrish, Rayanne Nguyen and Michelle Dockendorf are all family at the Santa Barbara Swim Club. In high school, though, Blair and Parrish swim for Santa Barbara High while Dockendorf and Nguyen lead rival Dos Pueblos. Blair and Parrish are bound for USC, Nguyen is headed to Fresno State and Dockendorf is a junior. (Blair family photo)
The high school swim season doesn’t begin until the spring, but the girls swim year-round for the Santa Barbara Swim Club. In a couple of weeks, they’ll fly to Austin, Texas, for a meet.

Although the girls are so close they might as well be sisters, they’re definitely not twins. Their particular swimming strengths are different, for one thing.

Lolo excels in the middle-distance freestyle events and the backstroke, holding the school record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 58.66. Lindsay specializes in sprint freestyle and the butterfly, holding the school and Channel League records in the 100 butterfly with a time of 54.73.

Also, while Lolo is the middle child in her family, with an older brother and a younger sister, Lindsay is the youngest child, with four older siblings. (Her brother, Chris, is the head coach of the Dos Pueblos High boys’ swimming and water polo teams.)

Perhaps for this reason, Lindsay is a little less nervous about diving head first into the college life.

“She’s had so many siblings go through college,” Lolo said, “whereas I saw my (older) brother graduate high school recently.”

Last summer, both girls sent their transcripts and swimming times to not only USC, but also UCLA. Both schools were impressed, and invited the girls on a recruiting trip to meet the teams and coaches.

Lolo Blair and Lindsay Parrish may feel at home in the water but their athleticism fueled a one-two finish in their age group in the 2002 Santa Barbara Triathlon.
Lolo Blair and Lindsay Parrish may feel at home in the water but their athleticism fueled a one-two finish in their age group in the 2002 Santa Barbara Triathlon. (Blair family photo)
In the collegiate swimming world, this pretty much means you’ve made the team.

In each of their trips to USC and UCLA, the girls got along swimmingly with their prospective teammates and coaches, who took the girls out for dinner, to football games and to classes.

“The people at both schools were so nice to us,” Lindsay said.

“They made us feel really welcome,” Lolo added.

It was a difficult decision.

For a couple of days prior to the November signing period, the girls decided not to talk about the matter, to avoid pressuring one another. Both wound up choosing USC.

“It would have been fine if we had signed with different schools, but it definitely would have felt weird,” Lindsay said. “It would have been like: Did I make the right decision?”

“You kind of just have to go where your heart wants to go,” Lolo said.

Lindsay and Lolo both said they preferred USC in part because its status as a private school felt familiar. Lindsay had attended Marymount of Santa Barbara through eighth grade, and Lolo had gone to Crane Country Day School.

Both also appreciated USC’s smaller size.

“At USC you can pretty much walk everywhere on campus, whereas at UCLA, it’s a lot bigger,” Lolo said.

In return for the girls’ agreement to swim for the Trojans, USC will cover their costs for textbooks.

Although few, if any, students in Santa Barbara were recruited to swim at such a prestigious school, neither girl is presently harboring serious Olympic dreams.

“It’s always good to set your dreams high, but it’s not necessarily the main objective,” Lindsay said.

Both girls are tentatively planning to major in business next year, but realize they have some time to sort all that out. As members of the USC swim team, they will live in a suite section of a dormitory. They don’t yet know if they’ll be roommates, but one thing’s for certain: They’ll still live in the same neighborhood.

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