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Swimming and diving teams hit the water in stride

North Olmsted senior Megann Ott, top (shown swimming against Eagles alumna Sophia Chincilla in last week's alumni swim meet), will be a big part of the Eagles' success this season. (Photo courtesy of Raymond Evans)

Varsity swimming and diving previews

By Ryan Kaczmarski

The NORTH OLMSTED swimming and diving team is looking to make a splash in the Southwestern Conference this season.

After finishing 0-7 and 2-5 last season, boys and girls teams respectively, head coach Patrick Burda is looking to have significant improvement this year.

The Eagles have about doubled their roster from last year to 21 girls and 19 boys, from last year’s numbers of 10 and 13 respectively, while only losing five swimmers to graduation.

“The goals this season are to improve the swimmers individually and to see overall team improvement,” Burda said. “We plan on not only being present at states this year on both teams, but also having swimmers score.

“The change of districts for us, to Bowling Green, will bring more of a team atmosphere,” he added. “This allows us to qualify more swimmers for districts, easier than last year. We have goals of placing top-five at districts on the girls team, and top-10 on the boys team. With the group of girls (we have) this year, there is the potential to rewrite the majority of the school’s record board.”

The majority of the Eagles’ “A” squad has returned from last year, including Ryan Sara, Joseph Casedonte and David Hundt on the boys side, and Jaquelyn Jarachivic, Megann Ott and Kara Foraker on the girls side.

“Ryan Sara put the work in over the summer to become more versatile than just a 50 and 100 freestyle swimmer, qualifying in both for the USA Swimming Speedo sectional championships,” Burda said. “He is now a solid competitor in the individual medley (I.M.), backstroke and butterfly as well, and is still a key to our relays. Joseph Casedonte is a returning junior and is just as versatile for backstroke, butterfly, I.M. and 500; additionally he is a strength of ours on any relay we need him for. David Hundt is in his senior year and is representing the team as a captain this year. He is a key breaststroke and I.M. swimmer for us, he is also a valued swimmer for our relays.

“Jaquelyn Jarachivic is a returning junior who put the work in over the summer to qualify for the USA Swimming Speedo sectional championships for the first time,” he added. “Her key events are 50, 100 and 200 freestyle, and is an important swimmer to our relays. Returning senior and captain Megann Ott is a versatile swimmer for the team capable of being competitive in nearly any event, but excels at backstroke and 50 and 100 freestyle. Kara Foraker is our top butterfly and I.M. swimmer. She holds spots on our top relays. First year swimmer Ismary Puentes has shown to be a talented 50 and 100 freestyle, and is anticipated to have a spot on our top relays.”

The season’s focus is on districts and states, but according to Burda, the duel meets will help the coaching staff gather information on how to perform in the races once the postseason starts.

The biggest meets on the Eagles’ regular season schedule are versus Amherst, Brecksville and Olmsted Falls; and the CSU Viking Invitational and the home Eagle Open.

“Overall, I’m looking forward to my second year as head coach of North Olmsted swimming, and I am anticipating an even more successful year than last,” Burda said.

The WESTLAKE girls team is coming off a SWC championship season in which it went 6-1 (6-3 overall).

The Demons have a strong core of returning swimmers, including captains Nora Lee (SWC champ and district qualifier in the 100 butterfly in 2011-12), Izabella Jamsek and Teresa Blair.

“(Nora Lee) hasn’t missed a beat since leaving the pool last winter,” Westlake head coach Jessica Dye said. “Consistent offseason training in the pool and the weight room continues to make Nora one of the strongest swimmers in the SWC.

“Izabella was committed to swimming this offseason like never before.”

The other returning letter winners are Sarah Schwartzer, Julie Solarz, Carson Greco, Adriana Ivkovic, Colleen Hoke, Christa Beyer, Elizabeth Raiff and Madeline Lee.

Key newcomers on the girls team are freshmen Rebecca Prexta and Maggie Guilfoyle.

“Both are seasoned swimmers who are adding exciting new depth and energy to the team,” Dye said. “We are looking forward to see what both of them bring to this high school team.”

The Demons boys squad had a record of 4-2-1 in the SWC (5-3-1 overall) in the 2011-12 season. The top returning letter winners are seniors Alex Lamorgese and Kevin Dempsey; juniors Joe Knurek, Jake Bechtel and Kevin Waitrovich; and sophomore Collin Hughes.

“Collin had the most impressive offseason training,” Dye said. “He had a successful tournament season in 2012, and used that as motivation in the offseason. He increased his stroke efficiency and strength. (We’re) looking forward to Colin really stepping up and being a leader this season. He has done a great job recruiting new athletes to a team hit hard by graduation.”

The key newcomers to the boys team are freshmen Max Lackner and Dominic Campo.

The OLMSTED FALLS teams both went 6-3 last season. First year head coach Matt Laughlin is taking over a squad with a lot of talent, but he feels they have a lot of learning to do.

The key returning letter winners for the Bulldogs are Joan Dregalla, Kate Heine, Lauren Higginbotham and Mareena Gentry on the girls side; and Aidan Burton, Sam Aburaad, Jon Levin, Tommy Petro and Jake Bolton on the boys side.

The girls team captains are Dregalla and Heine, and the boys captains are Burton, Levin and Abraad.

“They all work hard in and out of the pool, demonstrate great leadership and are dedicated to the team,” Laughlin said. “Joan and Kate both play a leadership role by leading our team in stretches and warm-ups. They also bring a positive attitude to practices, and demonstrate dedication to the team and the sport.”

Laughlin thinks the biggest meets this year will be the duel meet against North Olmsted, and the CSU Viking Invitational.

The teams’ goals are to break several school records, place in the top three in the conference and be well represented at districts and state.

ROCKY RIVER is looking to match the success of last years teams, which had some of the best seasons in school history, with the girls going 3-1 and the boys going 4-0.

The key returning swimmers for the girls this season are seniors Megan Auzenbergs, Katie Perez nd Jessica Goepfert; and junior Hallie McCue.

“Megan qualified for the state meet in her 50 freestyle her sophomore and junior years,” Pirates head coach Kali Dye said. “Junior Hallie McCue qualified for the state meet her junior year in her 100-backstroke as well as breaking the school record in the event.  Seniors Katie Perez and Jessica Goepfert were members of the 200-freestyle and 400-freestyle relays that qualified for the state meet.”

For the boys the key returning swimmers are seniors Danny Parris, Michael Henry and Andrew Goecke.

“Danny qualified for the state meet last season in the 200 IM and Michael and Andrew were members of the 200 and 400 freestyle relays,” Dye said. “Additionally, Senior Danny O’Callaghan had a great season last year diving and almost qualified for the state meet.”

According to Dye, the biggest meets this season are the meets against Westlake and Bay.

“The rivalry between Westlake and Rocky River has been around for years and it has grown even stronger because my sister is now the head swim coach for Westlake,” she said. “Both teams look forward to the meet and it is always a very competitive meet as well. Bay is also a strong team as well as a tough competitor within our conference.

“Our team goals this season are to win the conference for both the girls and boys,” Dye added. “Additionally, both teams are hoping to have an undefeated season. Finally, both teams want to send all three relays to the state meet (medley relay, and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays), as well as sending athletes in individual events.”

BAY had a 2011-12 season in which the girls team was West Shore Conference co-champs and finished ranked fourth in the state, while the boys team tied for second in the conference.

“After a very successful season, both the boys and girls teams look to build on their accomplishments from last season and continue to compete at a high level,” Rockets head coach Andy Fleck said.

The key returning letter winners are Elizabeth Auckley, Jennifer Norehad, Marlee Berlan, Alyssa Rossi, Kristine Johnston and Katie Bricmont on the girls side, and Trevor Lake and Brogan Macmillan on the boys side.

The biggest meets on the schedule are the home Rocket Relays, the CSU Viking Invitational and the dual meet against Rocky River, along with the entire postseason.

The team goals are to have fun, beat Rocky River, win the conference and sectionals and send members of both teams to the state championship meet.

The LAKEWOOD girls team won its conference last year, going undefeated in duel meets, but the Rangers are competing in the tough West Shore Conference for the first time this year.

The key returning girls are Maddy Mahoney, Sarah Neff and Sierra Goings.

The boys team returns divers John Liber and Jimmy McMahan; and swimmers Peter Schleckman, Zach Gilchrist and Shawn Sovie.

“John Liber and Jimmy McMahan both have a chance of qualifying for the state tournament,” Rangers head coach Megan Nicholson said. “Peter Schleckman brings leadership, Matt Carlson brings enthusiasm and Zach tries very hard.”

The boys team is still very small in numbers and the girls team is largely new from last year, but Nicholson is looking to have everyone compete in sectionals and to improve overall.

MAGNIFICAT had a record of 6-3 last year, with a very young team.

“It was the largest freshman class that I have ever had a Magnificat,” Blue Streaks head coach Mark Vandervort said. “It was a learning year, not only for the swimmers, but for the coaches as well.

There are 18 returning letter winners this season, led by senior captains Colleen Carroll, Colleen Hutchinson, Theresa Dunne and Callie McIntyre.

“They bring a lot of experience and leadership to this young team,” Vandervort said.

The Key contributors to the team this year will br Briana Kljun for diving, Ellen Hutchinson in the 100 backstroke, Emily Carmon in the 200 and 500 and Alex Poblete in the sprint events.

Other retuning seniors are Gabby Dietel, Myia Eren, Molly Flando, Shannon Robinson, Allie Rodriguez, Emily Tamas and Kim Weber.

“This year, we are a very good all-around team,” Vandervort said. “We are strong in every event this year, but our strongest area will be the 200 and 500 freestyle events.”

FAIRVIEW High School did not reply in time for this article.




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