Time will tell what becomes of the Princeton boys swim team. The Vikings are a young team, with only experienced, returning swimmer.
Senior Riley Hinkley was an individual district qualifier last season in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Hinkley, who also starred for the Vikings in water polo, finished eighth at districts in the 50 free.
“Riley is loaded with talent, he’s made great strides and hopefully he’s gonna cap off his final year swimming with a possible state berth,” said Princeton third-year coach Gary Tameris. “That’s what we’re shooting for.”
With a new pool this season, Tameris was hoping for his team’s number to increase and they did.
It may take some time for the newcomers to develop, but this year they get to train alongside one of Princeton’s fastest swimmers.
“Our numbers right now … we’ve got 16 guys who are swimming,” said Tameris. “The numbers are there, we’re very young, a ton of freshmen and sophomores, all going through that experience phase right now.”
Wyoming is trying to complete a decade of dominance.
The Cowboys have won nine straight Cincinnati Hills League championships. Junior Carson Burt, senior Christopher Rutter, and sophomore Philip Brocker lead this year’s team.
All three competed at state last year, helping Wyoming secure a fourth-place finish at state.
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.”
Moeller finished second in the state last year, behind only GCL 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 5th in the 200 yard IM. 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.
If the plan is to build off what Roger Bacon’s boys swimmers accomplished last year, then the Spartans could be in for a season that runs all the way to the final weekend.
Last year’s team seemed to turn it on for the postseason, and fourth-year coach Ben Stone hopes that’s the case again this year. Stone’s squad gets a great glimpse of top competition all season in the Greater Catholic League Coed, which usually has his bunch prepared.
Roger Bacon’s top returner is senior Drew Suffoletta, who was a district qualifier last season in two individual events and two relays.
“He has the best shot at making state for us,” said Stone. “Last year he swam 50 and 100 free and was extremely close to making state (in both those races). Our 200 and 400 free relays should have a good shot also.”
Stone added that the two relays only missed state by a few spots and only one swimmer graduated from those relays. Stone’s said there’s currently six guys competing for the four relay spots, and it’s a close competition.