The gun has sounded and the 2015 girls swim and diving season is underway, as high school girls from the area prep for the waters.
Five area schools have swimming and diving teams, including Battle Creek Central, Lakeview, Harper Creek, Marshall and Coldwater.
Battle Creek Central, despite competing in one of toughest swimming leagues in the state, looks to continue its individual successes. Last year, the Bearcats had a Div. 1 state qualifier and broke three varsity records.
Harper Creek head coach Corrin Buck, who was recently married, is a world record-holding swimmer in her age division. As a program, Harper Creek is young but expects to compete for a conference title like in years past.
Lakeview is coming off a season where the team finished second place in the SMAC. The squad is young and lost a memorable group of seniors from last year’s squad, according to coach Kyle Lott.
Marshall is coming off a successful swim campaign. In the league’s first season, the Redhawks were league champions. It was also the first time in school history the team finished 18th in the state. The team also set school records in the medley relay, 200 individual medley (IM), and the 400 free relay.
Coldwater is new to swimming and looks to gets its feet wet in its inaugural season. The Cardinals will swim in the brand new Dr. Robert Browne Aquatic Center located near Legg Middle School.
The following is a closer look at this year’s local prep girls swimming and diving teams, beginning with the city-school programs.
Battle Creek Central
Coach: Rob Brownell (fourth year)
Last season: 5-6 with a league record of 2-6.
Top Returners: seniors Faith Guzzo, Max Perrin, Rachel Sidnam, Michele Peet, Amber Gauthier, Cora Westlake; juniors Ally Smith, Emily Meyer, AnnaMaria Herrman, Abbie Skidmore, Summer Westlake; sophomores Morgan Mowry, Onalee Handlovits, Sarah Guzzo, Michelle Evans, Mattea Guess and Autumn Acker.
Season outlook: “The Lady Bearcats hope to carry last year’s success into this season. Coming off of a year where we had a Div. 1 state qualifier and broke three varsity records, we are looking to improve on that mark by improving our state meet qualifiers and continue to put new names on the record board. Our divers are stronger and better, and so is our depth. Overall, we have a strong team, but we will continue to struggle in one of the toughest swimming leagues in the state,” said Brownell.
Coach: Jaci Hoorman (first year) and Kristin Lyon (first year)
2014 record: First year
Top returners: First year
Season outlook: “The Coldwater Cardinals will be having their first swim and dive team this year with 14 team members. The Cardinals have five freshmen, a sophomore, four juniors and four seniors on the team. We are hoping for our numbers to grow from year to year, seeing as how our club swim team the ‘Barracudas’ had 90 swimmers. We will be swimming out of the Dr. Robert Browne Aquatic Center. We will be competing in several invitationals and dual meets against Adrian, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix, Battle Creek Lakeview, Battle Creek Central, Sturgis, Eaton Rapids, Marshall and Charlotte. We are looking to develop a team that encourages and motivates each other. We want to develop a positive mental attitude and self-esteem. We expect our team to show excellent sportsmanship, teamwork, respect everything and everyone, and be responsible. With their hard work and dedication, we expect our team to preserve and accomplish personal and team goals,” said Hoorman.
Coach: Corrin Buck (20th year)
2014 record: 5-2
Top returners: Devon Larson, a junior all-state diver and All-American; Jena Wager, who was a sophomore breaststroke state qualifier; Kelsea Popps, a sophomore backstroke state qualifier; Amelia Tomalka and Dakota Whitlock. Both were top-six finishers at league.
Season outlook: “We are a very young team. I have 17 on our roster right now of which only four have two or more years on the team. The last couple years we have graduated a lot of talent and what is exciting is that these new athletes are ready to step up and learn,” Buck said.
Coach: Kyle Lott (eight years)
2014 record: 7-3
Top Returners: N/A
Season outlook: “I am very excited about this young group of girls. We lost a large group of seniors last year, but the girls who walked in the door this year have a very positive attitude and are eager to work hard to reach their individual and team goals. With the positive work ethic, which I have observed throughout the first few weeks of training, I am very curious to see how far we can take them, as season rolls on and into the postseason,” Lott said.
Coach: David Karns (third year)
League Record: 6-1
Top returners: Jane Turner (back & free), Taylor Karns (free, back, breast) Kennedy Karns (fly, IM, Free), Natalie Stiner (free, IM, Fly), Erin Culp (free), Amaya Walker (free, fly, breaststroke), Ally Johnson (diving), and Jen Diver (breaststroke).
Marshall’s top newcomers are Julia Mathieu (free, back), Kaylee Gwin (free, fly), Cassie Porter (IM, free), and Maddie Russell (free).
Season outlook: “We have a lot of quality returners and hope to continue to develop depth in all events. Our expectations are to grow and develop into a deep and competitive team. We will hopefully be able to compete with the top teams in our league and continue to perform well on the state level as well,” Karns said.
Today: Girls Swimming
Tuesday-Wednesday: Boys/Girls Cross country