COLERAIN TWP. – The Colerain girls swimming and diving team hopes the impending winter ends the same way it did last year, with the arrival of spring and a trip to the state swim meet.
If the Cardinals hope the latter to be true, new coach Claire Shannon will have to pick up when former coach Caroline McIver left off. The Cardinals had a memorable season last year with two individual state qualifiers, both of whom return this season.
The Cardinals know they have dynamite in their top-two returning swimmers, but the success of the team will depend on their ability to score across a greater scope of events.
Sophomore Hailee Trotter and junior Kerry Tepe both qualified in one event to the Division I state meet individually last season.
Trotter, a first-team selection in the Greater Miami Conference as a freshman, finished 10th — two spots off the podium — in the 100 backstroke at the state meet last season. Tepe stormed out of the district and finished 22nd at state in the 100 breaststroke. Both have worked hard to improve those standings this season.
If the Cardinals hope to send any more swimmers to districts or state, they’ll have to swim together and continually improve as the season gets older.
There’s excitement brewing in the water at McAuley. The Mohawks have to replace five seniors who graduated, which includes Amanda Deller, an individual state qualifier last season.
But, the Mohawks have a rare, yet coveted, roster filled with steady experience and optimistic newcomers.
“This is probably the most excited I’ve been for a season in a long time,” said sixth-year coach Eric Stock. “As far as time, they’re way ahead (of last year). The most exciting thing is anyone on the team can be on the relays … we’re a complete team; we’re starting to become a program where we have consistency each year.”
McAuley returns six swimmers who competed at last season’s district meet. Returning from districts are seniors Erika Lucas and Lia Hergenrother; juniors Claire Roell and Emma Barbee; sophomores Anh Nguyen and Allison Koenig.
Stock said Nguyen has really improved in the breaststroke. Roell was an individual district qualifier in the 500 freestyle last season, and Stock said she’s a great distance swimmer. Lucas is a butterfly expert, while Hergenrother is more of a freestyle sprinter.
There isn’t a traditional leader for the Mohawks this season, but seniors Lucas, Hergenrother, Noelle Rotte and Kelsey Mooney have all done their share helping a young team with 12 freshman.
“McAuley, for the past 10 years, has had a state qualifier coming back,” Stock said. “We have a wide variety of depth this year; we have four seniors who’ve done an excellent job making sure everyone is motivated.”
The Mohawks will attempt to repeat as champions of the Best of the West swim meet Dec. 10 at Gamble Nippert YMCA.
Now in his fourth season coaching the girls swim team at Roger Bacon, coach Ben Stone likes how the girls have approached this season. Stone pointed to the hard work he’s already witnessed before the grueling stretch of winter really takes its toll.
The Lady Spartans’ best shot comes in the form of junior Renee Finan and sophomore Sophie Hunter. Finan failed in her quest to qualify for the district meet last season. Finan’s best events are the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
Stone said he believes Finan is “pretty much a lock” for districts this year. His reasoning is because of how hard she’s worked already this year.
If the rest of Roger Bacon’s roster follows suit, the Spartans could surprise some people this year.