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2018-19 high school girls swimming preview

By: Warren Mayes


Westminster Christian Academy sophomore Margo O’Meara is back to try and win another state diving championship.

O’Meara ran away with the diving championship in the first Class 1 state swimming and diving meet last winter. O’Meara won the state diving title with a whopping point total of 499.80. That was 131 points ahead of the second-place competitor. In fact, she would have been the state champion if the meet remained just one class as the Class 2 champion had 451.60 points.

Westminster has won the last three Metro League titles. Coach Kent Kehr lost 17 seniors to graduation. Kehr enters his 32nd year leading the swimming and diving Wildcats.

“I’m excited to see who of the returnees will step in the the big fins of those who have left from the 17 seniors of last year,” Kehr said.

Marquette has not lost a dual match in the last four years and coach Joe Schoedel’s Mustangs want to extend that streak. Marquette finished fifth in the Class 2 state meet last winter.

The suburban schools have new conference alignments this season.

There are three new head coaches this season. Mary Henke has taken over at Eureka. Stephanie Seidel is the new coach at Parkway Central. Parkway South named Blakeleigh Mathes as its new coach.

Parkway Central finished second last year in the Class 1 state meet. Siedel has five state qualifiers back this season.

St. Joseph’s Academy came in third last winter in the Class 1 meet. Coach Tracy Baer has eight state qualifiers returning.

Here is a look at the teams that responded to requests for information in alphabetical order:

Eureka Wildcats
Coach: Mary Henke. Entering first year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Cortney Teague.
Returning number of swimmers/state qualifiers: 1 state qualifier.
Swimmers on team to watch for this winter: Junior Lily Harrell in the 200 IM and 100 Backstroke, freshman Olivia Dolan in the 100 butterfly, junior McKinley Munk in the 50 and 100 free, and junior Ciara Hynes in the 100 breaststroke and 200 freestyle. Junior Lauren Guest is doing very well in her diving.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Olivia Dolan in the Butterfly and Individual Medley, Caleigh Holtman in the 50 and 100 Freestyle.
Captains: Seniors Julie Weizmann and Mikayla Savers
Swimmers who have committed or signed to college: Not yet.
Team strengths: (example: solid in relays, strong in diving, good depth, etc) We have a lot of swimmers who can successfully swim all the strokes which is helpful when putting together a line up for meets.
Goals: Our goals is to break some school records, improve on all our times, and improve on team unity.
Quote: “The season is going to be good,” Henke said. “I am excited to be apart of this program. This year holds it’s obstacles, for my senior I am her third high school coach, so trying to create consistency and stability this year is important. The team is full of hard dedicated workers with very supportive parents. I am proud of these swimmers and I am excited to see how this season goes. Lily Harrell, Olivia Dolan, McKinley Munk and Ciara Hynes (already) have qualified for state in the 200 Medley Relay. We are hoping to break some 2008 relay school records.”

Lafayette Lancers
2017-18 record: 12-1 in dual matches.
Coach: Todd Gabel. Entering 15th year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Even Spencer.
Returning number of swimmers/state qualifiers: 5 state qualifiers.
Swimmers on team to watch for this winter: Senior Catherine Behl in 200 and 500 free, senior Katie Hafner in 200 IM and 100 breaststroke, junior Sarah Higgins in 100 back and 100 free, senior Katie Locke in 100 back and 100 fly, junior Claire Vanbilijon in 50 and 100 free, sophomore Zoe Bishop in 200 IM an 100 breaststroke, sophomore Rachel Brown in 200 IM and 500 free, junior Kathleen Deline in 50 and 100 free, senior Abby Knoesel in 100 fly and 100 breaststroke, junior Madeline Muse in diving.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Anna Johnson in 50 and 100 free, freshman Gabriella Kennedy in diving, freshman Lindsey Lohr in 100 breaststroke and 100 fly, freshman Abigail Miltenberger in 200 and 500 free, freshman Dylan Moulton in 50 and 100 free.
Captains: Not named.
Swimmers who have committed to college: None.
Goals: To be in top 4 at state and see improvement over the course of the season
Suburban Conference Yellow pool teams: Eureka, Kirkwood, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Parkway Central, Parkway South, Parkway West.
Favorites to win conference: Marquette Lafayette and Kirkwood.
Quote: “The season it is very exciting to see a lot of new faces on the team and to see what they can do over the next two months,” Gabel said.

Marquette Mustangs
2017-18 record: 10-0 in duals, won conference championship, finished fifth at state.
Coach: Joe Schoedel. Entering ninth year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Jessica Brown, Robin Craig.
Returning number of swimmers/state qualifiers: 31 returning athletes and 14 returning state qualifiers.
Swimmers on team to watch for this winter: Any of our 14 returning state qualifiers.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Carsyn Cosman.
Captains: Lauren Berning, Kelley Sinning, Sarah Rosson, Taryn Zweifel.
Swimmers who have committed to college: Abigail Nebot to Butler, Sarah Rosson to Maryville. Taryn Zweifel to Indiana for water polo.
Team strengths: Overall depth in both swimming events, as well as diving.
Goals: Continue our undefeated dual streak to five years, and continue to be competitive at COMO and Kirkwood and conference meets, and at state.
Suburban Conference Yellow pool teams: Eureka, Kirkwood, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Parkway Central, Parkway South, Parkway West.
Favorite to win Conference: Marquette.
Quote: “With the redistributed conferences, ours has gotten significantly tougher,” Schoedel said. “That should make duals more competitive, as well as the conference meet at the end of the year. I think the girls are up for the challenge and excited about this season’s prospects. After a fifth place finish at state last year, they are eager to show they can work hard and continue to improve.”

MICDS Rams
2017-18 record: 5-6-1 in duals. Finished second in conference meet. Finished 24th at state with a 1 point-scorer swimming.
Coach: Kristen Witzman. Entering 12th year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Chris McCrary, Andy Balczo.
Returning number of swimmers/state qualifiers: Returning 16 swimmers, 1 state qualifier.
Swimmers on team to watch for this winter: Senior Alex Fox, sophomore Madigan Kinsey, freshmen Anna Scott Baur, Sophie Henriksen, and Abby Wickersham.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Alex, Anna Scott, Sophie and Abby are all new to our team, and will all make an immediate impact.
Captains: To be determined.
Swimmers who have committed to college: None.
Team strengths: We will be very solid this year in a variety of events. We have many girls that are versatile and can go a lot of different places, so it will be dependent on each meet in terms of lineup. It will be fun to see different events from each of them.
Goals: We are always looking to take each meet as it comes, and set our team up for the best possible outcome. Being second last year at conference, we have our eyes set on moving up, but it will be challenging against tough Westminster and John Burroughs teams.
Metro League teams: John Burroughs, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, MICDS, Principia, Westminster Christian Academy.
Favorites to win conference: Westminster, John Burroughs.
Quote: “We are excited to see what this team can do, being as versatile as it is,” Witzman said. “Some years you are pigeon-holed into nearly the same lineup each meet, and other years, you can play with events a little bit. This team has been working hard and is looking to do great things.”

Parkway Central Colts
2017-18 record: 9-1 in duals along with the following team finishes: Fourth at Marquette Relays, second at the Parkway Quad, fifth at Kirkwood Invite and fifth place at City of Roses. The girls were Conference Champions due to an amazing team effort. The following individuals were Conference Champions: 200 Medley Relay (Margaret Ripp, Abigail Levine, Shelby Ripp and Alexis Poe), 200 IM (Shelby Ripp), 50 Free (Alexis Poe), 100 Butterfly (Abigail Levine), 100 Free (Alexis Poe), 100 Backstroke (Margaret Ripp), 100 Breaststroke (Abigail Levine) and 400 Free Style Relay (Shelby Ripp, Rheanna Morris, Abigail Levine and Alexis Poe). At state the girls placed second as a team. There were many amazing swims and top eight finishes. Abigail Levine was the 100 breaststroke state champion.
Coach: Stephanie Seidel. Entering first year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Nicole Duncan and Natalie Kirner as dive coach.
Returning number of swimmers/state qualifiers: We have 23 returning swimmers and divers, 5 which are state qualifiers.
Swimmers on team to watch for this winter: Junior Lily Eckenrode and sophomore Kate Orso in diving; Senior Rebecca Waxberg in the 100 fly; sophomore Grecia Escalante in freestyle events.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Emma Vance with swimming and freshman Carissa Bersche with diving.
Captains: Tiffany Huang and Rebecca Waxberg.
Swimmers who have committed or signed to college: None
Team strengths: We have a great group of talented girls who are all around swimmers, able to swim in multiple events.
Goals: We have set some high expectations for ourselves this year as a team and as individuals. We are hoping that each girl can accomplish their individual goal(s) set while still have a successful overall season.
Suburban Conference Yellow pool teams: Eureka, Kirkwood, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Parkway Central, Parkway South, Parkway West.
Favorites to win conference: Kirkwood or Marquette.
Quote: “The talent and the depth we have in each event, including diving, is exciting and will play an important role in our overall team success,” Seidel said. “As a team, we have set some high standards for ourselves, but as in all competitive sports, each year presents itself with its own challenges. Some of the challenges we will be facing this year is the talent that is in our new conference. We will have some tough meets ahead with great competition, that will force our girls to step up and swim their best. Through the dedication, commitment and the training that we have in place this year, we are looking forward to embracing each swimmer and diver through individual and team success.”

Parkway North Vikings
2017-18 record: 6-6 in dual meets. Finished third in conference meet.
Coach: Jennifer Meyer. Entering sixth year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Natalie Vonarx is diving coach and Dawn Newport is assistant coach.
Returning number of swimmers/state qualifiers: 24 returning and 10 state qualifiers.
Swimmers on team to watch for this winter: Senior Meagan Sotolar in 500 free, 200 free and 100 back, junior Megan Battles in 50 free, 100 free, 200 free and 500 free, sophomore Paige Bolling in 200 IM, 100 fly and 100 back, sophomore Abby Bockerstett in 200 IM and 100 back, sophomore Sarah Jelliss in 100 fly.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Peyton Orr in 100 fly, diver Brooke Williams.
Captains: None.
Swimmers who have committed to college: None.
Team strengths: Last year we qualified all three relays and eight individual events. Since none of these girls graduated, we hope to do the same this year plus add a few new events. Last year we only had one diver and we have four this year so that is a big help to the team.
Goals: Hope to be first or second in the conference this year.
Suburban Conference Red pool teams: Clayton, Hazelwood West, Ladue, McCluer North, Mehlville, Oakville, Parkway North, Pattonville, Summit, Webster Groves.
Favorites to win conference: Webster Groves, Ladue or Parkway North
Quote: “We have a strong team this year and with outstanding Assistant coaches, this team can go far. All our state qualifiers returned and some have been working hard in the off season so we hope to improve on our relay times and places this year while also qualifying in more individual events. If the girls can focus on supporting their team and swimming for each other they will go far.

Parkway South Patriots
2017-18 record: 5-4 in dual matches.
Coach: Blakeleigh Mathes. Entering first year as coach.
Returning number of swimmers/state qualifiers: 15 returning swimmers. 6 state qualifiers.
Swimmers on team to watch for this winter: Freshman Logan Knolhoff and Claire Muckerman in the 200 free; Brooke Muckerman in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke, Paige Gifford in the 100 back, and Summer Hay in the sprint free events.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Logan Knolhoff and Selina Newland.
Captains: Paige Gifford, Brooke Muckerman, Leah Avise, Madeline Ryterski, Molly Kessler, and Zoey Owens.
Swimmers who have committed to college: None.
Team strengths: Lots of young talent with phenomenal veteran leadership.
Goals: Break school relay records and place as a team at state.
Suburban Conference Yellow pool teams: Eureka, Kirkwood, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Parkway Central, Parkway South, Parkway West.
Quote: “I think we have a very young, but talented team,” Mathes said. “We have several freshman that will contribute immediately on relays and by scoring as individuals. Pair that with great seniors and other veterans, we will have a strong team moving forward into the season.”

Principia Panthers
2017-18 record: 6-7 in dual meets. Riley Small was all-state honorable mention in the IM.
Coach: Brian Peticolas. Entering ninth year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Jessica Fendon.
Returning number of swimmers/state qualifiers: 4 and 1.
Swimmers on team to watch for this winter: Senior Riley Small in 100 back and 200 IM, junior Sidney Bradley in diving.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Haley Carlyle.
Captains: Riley Small.
Swimmers who have committed to college: None.
Team strengths: Good depth.
Goals: Increase number of conference selections
Metro League teams: John Burroughs, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, MICDS, Principia, Westminster Christian Academy .
Favorites to win conference: John Burroughs and Westminster.
Quote: “I’m very excited about this year’s team,” Peticolas said. “We have a good mix of new and returning swimmers and a good number of just all around swimmers. I expect our depth and versatility to help us in dual meet competitions this year.”

St. Joseph’s Academy Angels
2017-18 record: 9-2 in duals. Finished third conference meet. Finished third in Class 1 state meet.
Coach: Tracy Baer. Entering second year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Michele Tischer.
Returning number of swimmers/state qualifiers: 21 and 8.
Swimmers on team to watch for this winter: Divers Sam Camfield and Olivia Linsman, seniors Gretchen Allman in the 100 Back and 100 Fly, senior Ally Duggan in the free events and 100 fly, sophomores Emma Cole and Grace Mackey in the free events and 100 back. The Hattrich sisters in the IM, back and fly events.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Alyssa Yelton in the freestyle events, freshman Ellie Guenther in 100 Breast, 200 IM; freshman Avery Smith in the freestyle and 100 back.
Captains: Gretchen Allman, Ally Duggan, Mary Evans, Jane Lewis, Ana Maria Vasquez.
Swimmers who have committed to college: None.
Team strengths: Solid relays, two very strong divers, good depth in all events.
Goals: Win conference, have another top 5 finish at state.
Metro Women’s Athletic Association teams: Cor Jesu, Incarnate Word Academy, Nerinx Hall, St. Joseph’s Academy, Ursuline, Visitation Academy.
Favorites to win conference: St. Joseph’s Academy, Cor Jesu, Nerinx Hall.
Quote: “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be back for my second season as head coach,” Baer said. “While we lost some very strong seniors, we’ve added a ton of depth in every single event. We look really strong at practice and our senior captains are leading the charge. Both Cor Jesu and Nerinx are going to come back strong this season and will likely be our toughest inter-league competition. I’m excited to have strong teams in our small conference. That kind of good competition helps push our girls to get our top state-qualifying times and break some school records hopefully as well.”

Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats
2017-18 record: 14-2 in duals. Won Ladue Invite and conference meets. At state, Payton Dunn was fifth in 500 free and 10th in 200 free. 200 free relay finished ninth and came in 11th in 400 free relay. Margo O’Meara won state diving. Team finished 12th overall.
Coach: Kent Kehr. Entering 32nd year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Marjan Kempen, Steve Braun
Returning number of swimmers/state qualifiers: 26 and 5.
Swimmers on team to watch for this winter: Sophomore Margo O’Meara in diving, senior Payton Dunn in 500 and 200 free, senior Lauren Bell in 500 and 200 free.
Captains: Seniors Payton Dunn, Lauren Bell, Noelle Burkey.
Swimmers who have committed to college: None.
Team strengths: Lost 17 seniors so newcomers will need to step up to create depth this year.
Goals: Establish new swimmers as core group for this and future years. Win conference.
Metro League teams: John Burroughs, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, MICDS, Principia, Westminster Christian Academy.
Favorites to win conference: MICDS.
Quote: “(I’m) Looking forward to working with new swimmers to see who will step up and also to see them bond and connect with established swimmers,” Kehr said. “I’m excited to see who of the returnees will step in the the big fins of those who have left from the 17 seniors of last year. Margo, Payton, junior Camryn McMurray, junior Grace Skiljan and junior Lauren Zone are all back and hoping to see a relay and individual events they swim/dive get them to state.”

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