Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Girls' swimming preview capsules

The Gazette preps@gazette.com - Published: November 27, 2013

A team-by-team glance at the upcoming girls' swimming season.

5A

Doherty

Last season: Tied for 22nd at 5A meet

Coach: Nicole Hart, fifth year

Returning state qualifiers: Emily Mehlhop, jr.; Kylee Hart, jr.; Shea Lynn Hawley, jr.; Sarah Collie, jr.; Alex Raphael, sr.; Hannah Kennedy, sr.; Kina Boe, jr.

Outlook: The Spartans, who qualified their 200-medley relay along with their 200- and 400-freestyle relays in last season's state meet, hope to have all three relays qualify for state again in 2013. They have a lot of upperclassmen talent, but may lack enough depth to place much higher at state than they did a season ago.

Fountain-Fort Carson

Last season: Did not score at the 5A meet

Coach: John Rork, 21st year

Returning state qualifiers: none

Outlook: Fountain-Fort Carson doesn't get the year-round swimmers that some of the other area schools do. Instead, the Trojans will likely have a difficult time competing stroke-for-stroke with many of the 5A schools. But that's why they swim the races. Watch twin sisters Danielle and Shanielle Henslee - they could have breakout years in their second years in diving after spending most of their lives in gymnastics.

Lewis-Palmer

Last season: 14th at 5A meet

Coach:Alan Arata, fourth year

Returning state qualifiers: Hannah Beckwith, sr., 11th in diving; Olga Britton, sr., 2012 All-American; Hanna Hartel, jr., qualified in 100 fly, 200 IM; Rachel Kriete, sr.; Sarah Mallette, sr., qualified in 200 and 400 free relays; Natalie Rees, jr.; Katie Roh, jr.; Niki Russell sr., 2012 All-American; Kayla Sunada, sr.; Andie Turner, soph., 5A state champion in 100 back and 2013 All-American; Elissa Watson, jr.

Outlook: The Rangers are young, but that doesn't mean they can't make noise in the 5A field. The fifth family member of the Day family, Julie Day, as well as fellow freshman Cori Dech will add a punch to a team that already features one of the most talented swimmers in the state, Andie Turner. After overcoming pre-state nightmares, Turner won the state title in the 100 backstroke last season as a freshman. A more mature swimmer only makes her and Lewis-Palmer scarier.

Liberty

Last season: Did not score points at the 5A meet

Coach: Erik Richardson, third year

Returning state qualifiers: Sami Lenzmeier, sr.; Carsen Glass, sr.; Lindsay Keenan, jr.; Taylor McKittrick, sr.

Outlook: The Lancers have enough returning and new talent to improve this season. How much is to be seen.

Pine Creek

Last season: 33rd at 5A meet

Coach: Steve Owsley, eighth year

Returning state qualifiers: Senior Madi Cooper, sr., qualified in five events; Anna Conroy, sr., qualified in four events; Esther Choi, sr., qualified in four events; Sydney Galloway, jr., qualified in 50 free and all three relays; Katelynd Trinidad, jr., qualified in 100 back and all three relays; Abby Smith, jr., qualified in diving.

Outlook: Cooper, who won the 200 and 500 freestyle events at league, is back for the continually improving Eagles swim team. Pine Creek has 40 swimmers and divers, and should be neck-and-neck with Rampart for the Metro crown.

4A

Air Academy

Last season: 23rd at 4A meet

Coach: Scott Newell, 13th year

Returning state qualifiers: Hannah Brockie, sr., three-time state qualifier; Ashley Dickerson, jr.,three-time state qualifier; Kayla Knock, jr., three-time state qualifier; Megan Dearden, jr.; Samantha Steigerwald, soph.; Lydia Schneider, sr.

Outlook: The good news for the Kadets is that they're relatively deep. The bad news is they have to match their depth against league teams Cheyenne Mountain, Lewis-Palmer and Discovery Canyon.

Cheyenne Mountain

Last season: 2nd at 4A meet

Coach: Kate Doane, fifth year

Returning state qualifiers: Sydney Buckley, sr., back-to-back state champ in the 100 fly; Morgan Wice, sr., third in the 50 free at state; Emily Bauer, sr., part of record-breaking 200 medley relay; Chloe Buckler, sr.; Rhyann Lowrey jr.; Samantha Greenberg, sr.; Kristina Kimball, sr.; Alden Lovaas, jr.; Katie Liebcher, soph.; Rachel Leach, jr.; Caroline Stieglitz, soph.; Marie Goodwyn, soph.

Outlook: Nobody in the area looks as deep or has more talent than the Indians. Buckley could win her third consecutive title in the 100 butterfly; Wice could improve on top-10 finishes in the 50 and 500 freestyle; and that doesn't even scratch the surface. The girls' swim team hasn't won a state title since 2002 despite four consecutive league titles - that could change soon.

Coronado

Last season: 10th at 4A meet

Coach: Katie Baker, fourth year

Returning state qualifiers: Katie Jacobs, jr.; Sarah Stafford, jr.; Katie Field, so.

Outlook: Without Allie Jacobs leading the team, the Cougars could have a rough time grabbing another top-10 finish at state (which they have done the past three seasons). Baker said they will need swimmers to step up after Coronado graduated the core of its team.

Fountain Valley

Last season: 27th at 4A meet

Coach: Rob Gustke, 15th year

Returning state qualifiers: Margot Twomey, sr, qualified for 50 and 100 freestyle.

Outlook: The Danes are the smallest school in the state to field a girls' swim team. Expect Twomey to get points at state, but Fountain Valley might be too small to climb into the top 20 in 4A.

Manitou Springs

Last season:17th at 4A meet

Coach: Roy Chaney, sixth year

Returning state qualifiers: Veronica Morin, jr.; Sam White, jr.

Outlook: The Mustangs have more talent than last season, partially due to incoming freshmen Kethrys Buffa and Emily Dolloff-Holt who are both Western zone and Junior Olympic qualifiers. Chaney hopes 3A Manitou Springs can place in the top 10 at 4A state.

Mesa Ridge/Widefield

Last season: Did not score at 4A state meet

Coach: Melissa Knutson, fifth year

Returning state qualifiers: Carmen Mena, jr; Kayla Kuecker, sr.; Jamie Quirk, sr.; Jacqui Moran, soph.

Outlook: The Grizzlies are looking to build off a season that sent one relay team to state. Knutson believes Mena will have a breakout season.

Mitchell

Last season: Did not have a team

Coach: Dee Medberry-Hagen

Returning state qualifiers: none

Outlook: Without a team last season, the Marauders are just happy to be back in the pool. And with only four girls who have competitive swim experience, Mitchell will have to start from scratch this season.

St. Mary's

Last season: 32nd at 4A state meet

Coach: Rebecca Keith, third year

Returning state qualifiers: none.

Outlook: Look out for freshman Carter Terry - a good swimmer with an even better story. Her father will come home Dec. 5 after being stationed in Iraq for the past year. The Pirates as a whole are rebuilding.

- Schools not reporting: Discovery Canyon, Harrison, Palmer, Rampart, Sierra

Brent W. New, THE GAZETTE

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