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.
Looking at the list of swimmers Madeira graduated back in the spring, the uneducated might think the Mustangs are in for a rough year. At another program, losing guys like Jack Mantkowski, the Cincinnati Hills League swimmer of the year last season, and Ryan Stevenson and Nick Theis would mean a long season.
But, Madeira will reload this year with another core group of experienced swimmers and some impressive newcomers who should make another trip to the state meet a reality this winter. Madeira finished seventh in the state as a team last season at the Division II state meet.
Back for the Mustangs are senior Alex Fortman, sophomore Chet Dobson and junior Braden Kane. Fortman and Dobson both made impacts at state. Fortman, who coach Chip Dobson said does a lot of different things really well, placed seventh at state in 100 butterfly and contributed on all three relays at state. As a freshman, Chet Dobson, Chip’s son, swam a leg on all three state relays. Kane was the state alternate and also a district qualifier in 50 freestyle.
Madeira also added junior Jacob Waters, who moved back home to Madeira, said Dobson, who added that Waters is “real fast and very versatile.”
Dobson likes that his team has “a lot of experience; I think Chet’s better (than he was last year), Alex is better, Braden is better and then Jacob Waters is a great replacement for some of the seniors we graduated in terms of his ability.”
Dobson is hopeful those four can makeup the relay teams, and be “as fast as last year if not better,” said Chip.
Junior Peter Nelson and senior Tyler Quante, a district qualifier last season, will give the Mustangs depth and deep scoring power.
Indian Hill’s boys team is young, led by sophomores Max Eihausen and Sam Okum. Both earned honorable mention all-conference recognition as freshmen.
“Our team is very small, with many new members, so it’s somewhat of a rebuilding year for our team,” said coach Emily Hardy.
Diver Noah Vigran qualified for state and placed sixth last year as a freshman. That finish motivated him to work even harder in the offseason, said his diving coach Ray Noble. Other Indian Hill divers include sophomores Annie Garrettson and Violet Robertson and freshmen Lexi Magenhiem and Makenna Hack.
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.
“It’s worth mentioning that this team is 100 members strong and while we certainly can point to some of our tops swimmers at the state level,” Beerman said, “the focus of the team is really about helping everyone discover and reach the potential they have.”
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.
“They’re just now learning how good they can really be,” said Beerman. “Their effort level is off the charts in terms of what we’re asking of them. It is a talented team, but we’re excited to see how far that talent can take us as a team. We certainly hope with good health and good training that we can return to state and do well. There are any number of individuals (outside of the swimmers mentioned above) on this team who can contribute to our success.”