Coaches are finding out which swimmers used summer vacation to better their craft — and which ones spent their summer on the couch — as the 2013 girls’ prep swimming and diving season gets under way.
For those dedicated swimmers who are in the water before the sun comes up and didn’t just lounge in the pool this summer, a trip to the Nov. 22 MHSAA State Swimming and Diving Finals may become a reality.
City schools Battle Creek Central, Harper Creek and Lakeview, as well as area school Marshall, will field swimming and diving teams this season. All four programs will compete in the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference Eastern Division.
With a large class of freshmen, Battle Creek Central will look to improve on its 1-11 2012 record and move up in the SMAC East standings.
Harper Creek returns an experienced group of seniors under an experienced coach in Corrin Popps, who enters her 18th year as head coach. The Beavers posted a 7-2 record last season and will look to be near the top of the SMAC East again this year.
Lakeview returns four all-state swimmers to a promising team that will compete for a SMAC East championship.
Head coach Kyle Lott said this year’s squad is the largest team he’s had in his seven years at Lakeview.
Dave Karns has coached the Marshall boys’ swim team since 1999, but he’ll take the reins for the girls’ team for the first time this year as the Redhawks try to take their swim program to the next level.
Battle Creek Central
Coach: Rob Brownell (2nd season)
2012 record: 1-11 (0-5 SMAC East)
Top returners: Caitlyn Cubberly, sr.; Sarah Goins, sr.; Olyvea Davis, sr.; Makayla Hoffman, sr.; Hannah Correa, sr.; Ashley Sparks, sr.; Katrina Allen, jr.; Allyson Cubberly, jr.; Jordan Roberson, jr.; Claire Wixson, jr.; Cora Crisher, jr.; Faith Guzzo, so.; Rachel Sidnam, so.; Rachel Halbert, so.; Allie Steele, so.; Jesstina Lata, so.
Outlook: After a disappointing 1-11 finish last year the Bearcats will look to rebound in 2013 with a strong class of newcomers. Joining the squad this season are Ally Smith, fr.; AnnaMaria Herman, fr.; Emily Meyer, fr.; Lexi Favorite, fr.; Max Perrin, so.; Mary Griffith, so.; Amber Gauthier, so.; Cora Westlake, so.; and Faith Skidmore, jr.
Coach: Corrin Popps (18th season)
2012 record: 7-2 (5-1 SMAC East)
Top returners: Madi Vaive, sr.; Courtney Gilmore, sr.; Whitney Durham, sr.; Nicole Gilbert, sr.; Kara Popps, jr.; Jordan Gurney, jr.; Aubrey Greenfield, jr.; Sophie Marshall, so.; Alicia Ziegler, so.; Bailey Scott, so.; Haleigh Pickett, so.; Scottie Wood, so.; Amelia Tomalka, so.; Maddie Hunsicker, so.; Claire Hernandez, so.
Outlook: Corrin Popps is entering her 18th year as head coach of the Beavers. With Popps at the helm and the fact that every senior on the Harper Creek swimming and diving team qualified for state last year, indicates the Beavers should be solid from a leadership standpoint. “I am very excited for this season. We have all experienced swimmers and divers,” said Popps. “They all have a great work ethic. We have a strong upper class. I am hoping we will once again have a big team going to states and break a few more school records.” The Beavers return Gilbert, who was an all-state diver in 2013, and Kara Popps, who was all-state in the 100-yard backstroke last season.
Coach: Kyle Lott (7th season)
2012 record: 9 – 2
Top returners: Mina Kukuk, sr.; Brooke Rowe, sr.; Anna Moore, sr.; Jenny Reimer, sr.; Ashley Chambers, jr.
Outlook: The Spartans return several star swimmers from last year’s team. Kukuk, Rowe, Moore and Reimer each earned all-state honors in 2012 and Chambers won an individual conference championship for the Spartans. “I am very excited to see this team progress throughout the season,” said Lott. “This is the largest team I have ever coached with 50 girls. We are looking forward to a very competitive dual meet season, as we have scheduled some of the best teams in the state this year in order to prepare for the championship season.”
Coach: Dave Karns (1st season)
2012 record: N/A
Top returners: Jessica Bush, sr.; Lelah Davis, sr.; Sami Donahue, sr.; Courtney Hounshell, sr.; Ella Kramer, sr.; Monica Lubis, sr.; Moira Thelen, sr.; Hope Earl, jr.; Olivia Graves, jr.; Nichole Haight, jr.; Nina Hendler, jr.; Maddie Rayner, jr.; Anna Sitar, jr.; Brooklyn Tobias, jr.; Miriam Wilch, jr.; Taylor Karns, so.; Landrie Long, so.; Maddy Peters, so.; Kinsey Tiekele, so.; London Varalli, so.
Outlook: “We are a young team with 14 freshmen and many new kids,” Karns said. “We should be very deep by the end of the season, which should make us competitive in the SMAC East. I am very excited to have this opportunity to continue Marshall’s great swimming tradition and help to bring the program to the next level.”