Loveland swimming is led by junior Courtney Mennen. She earned honorable mention All-ECC honors and qualified for districts in the 100 yard backstroke. Senior Emily Michelfelder and sophomore Emma Blackburn will also lead the Tigers. The experience gained by underclassmen competing at districts last year in relays should pay off this season.
Loveland’s boys team is led by senior Ryan Mesmer and juniors Mitchell Laifook and Vaughn Richter. That trio comprised three fourths of the Tigers’ 200 yard and 400 yard freestyle relay teams last season.
The Tigers have a deep diving squad, with Liz Bender, Sarah Sheeler, Joe Carver, Max Daugherty, Ryan Drapeau, Alex Scharfenberger. Sheeler is the team’s lone senior and captain. Scharfenberger narrowly missed qualifying for districts last year.
“I have a young team this year that is loaded with talent,” said Loveland diving coach Lisa Werwinski.
Moeller finished second in the state last year, behind only Greater Catholic League rival St. Xavier.
The Crusaders return all but two members of that Division I state runner-up team. Jacob Peloquin placed fifth in the state in the 100 yard butterfly and seventh in the 100-yard backstroke.
Cooper Hodge finished fifth in the 200-yard individual medley. Both are back for their senior season. Senior Dan Nyberg and juniors Austin Theobald and Will McCullough also return.
Peloquin, a Miami University commit, and Hodge, a University of Wisconsin commit, will anchor the Crusaders’ relay teams. Expectations will be high for this team in 2015-2016.
Last year, head coach Gary Toner said he expected his Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy boys team to make districts for the first time in eight years.
J.P. Pancioli and Ryan Hunt helped deliver on that goal. This year, Toner and the Eagles are likely looking for repeat appearances at the district meet as well as adding some fresh faces to the mix, if not state qualification.
Hunt and Pancioli can return this season along with a host of other swimmers including Jake Koopman, Connor Sheehy and Dominic Rottman.
The Enquirer tabbed CHCA as one of the area’s teams to watch in Division II again this season.
Last season, Toner said his freshmen class was the best he’s ever had.
Anna Van Jura and Sydney Day were among those freshmen who could contribute immediately. And they did so as district qualifiers.
Hope Whiteside and Rachel Haslem were in the district mix as well.
Toner is likely hoping a few more faces join them in district waters this season.
St. Xavier High School’s swim team has, for a long time, held the state podium in a stranglehold. The Bombers have cultivated and sustained one of the most impressive programs the area has ever seen.
Last season, St. Xavier won its seventh consecutive Division I state championship (36th all-time) and the Bombers return buses full of top-tier talent in the water.
The Bombers also rotated the coaching carousel this year. Longtime head coach Jim Brower moved from the head position to an assistant, to make way for former assistant Tim Beerman to take over as head coach. Beerman was previously a head coach at Ursuline Academy.
Junior Grant House is without question the fastest swimmer in state. House has already won four individual state championships (two as a freshman, two as a sophomore), and he’s helped on a number of state championship relay teams. Last year, he won the 100 and 200 freestyle races at state.
Senior Matt Slabe, also an individual state qualifier, swam on the 400 freestyle relay team that won a state title last year. Junior Luke Sobolewski’s another experienced swimmer who won a state title on the 200 medley relay last year. Junior Charles Leibson was an individual state qualifier in two races last year, and just finished helping the Bombers win a water polo state championship. Sophomore Justin Grender was another difference maker at state last year, as was sophomore Nicholas Perera.
Beerman has also been very impressed by freshman Jake Foster.
Mount Notre Dame is led by Graci Doll, Corinne Herwitz, Amanda Puthoff, Annie Kruspe and Kate Van Den Brink.
The Lady Cougars will field a deeper and more experienced squad in coach Pete Wagner’s second season at MND. That depth is bolstered by the addition of some swimmers who returned to the sport to compete for the varsity team after taking some time off from competition.
“This team is well-rounded and comprised of swimmers that are committed to the sport and not afraid to work hard,” said Wagner. Grace Menke earned diver of the year honors in the GGCL last year as a freshman.
St. Ursula, with its young talent and roster laden with state swimmers, is expected to be one of the city’s best again this season.
However, the Bulldogs aren’t the only GGCL team with talented youngsters who earned state experience. The girls off Pfeiffer road might have something to say about that.
Ursuline, like its rival, sent numerous swimmers to Canton’s waters.
Julia Moran advanced in the 100 and 200 freestyle races. Rollie Grinder joined her in the 200 and swam the 500 freestyle along with Christine Van Kirk.
Caroline Blood represented the Lions in the 100 backstroke and Laura Morris swam the 100 breaststroke.
All five can come back this season and help Ursuline compete for its third Division I girls state title in four years.