A look at Area Girls Swim Teams
Coach: John Doty, third year
Last year: 5-9 (fifth in La Porte Sectional with 197 points)
Key losses: Kelsey Creager (backstroke and individual medley), Abby Zila (breaststroke and medley relay), Joslyn Holt (individual medley and butterfly).
Key returning swimmers: Abigail Roberts, Carley Hobbs, Jimena Torres, Monica Hernandez-Jara.
Key newcomers: Rebekah Shaffer (individual medley), Gabby Hull, Callie Hekter.
Outlook: With a fairly young squad and some talented swimmers on the roster, La Porte is cautiously optimistic heading into a new campaign. “We’ve got a pretty young team, which is really beneficial,” Doty said. “Because we can really dial stuff in over the next couple of years. I’m more excited about this season than I have been since I’ve been a head coach. This is going to be our best season yet.” Team leaders will be seniors Roberts, Hobbs, Torres, and Hernandez-Jara. “They’ve all really stepped up and kind of taken all our newbies under their wings,” Doty said. “All of them together have been leaders. And then, in the water, Jimena’s doing great.” LP also has Alicia Wireman, who was the Rookie of the Year last year and freshman Rebekah Shaffer, who’s expected to do some really good things. “I’m hoping to be a little bit better this year,” Doty said of last year’s 5-9 record. “We always have a bunch of tough opponents. I’m shooting for .500. We haven’t had a .500 season since I’ve been here. I think it’s doable.”
-- compiled by Zack Eldridge
Coach: Ashley Wojtysiak, 11th year
Last year: 9-7 (sixth in South Bend Riley Sectional with 143 points)
Key losses: Emma Goldenstern, Chloe Lanning, Gabey Vogeler.
Key returners: Allie Harris, Amber Neuhold, Caroline Foster, Meggan Goldenstern.
Outlook: Despite fielding a relatively young team, in terms of its swimmers, and some inexperience, the Cougars aren’t backing down from a challenge. They’ve got several athletes who haven’t participated in prep swimming before, but Wojtysiak said they’re doing extremely well. “You couldn’t ask for better effort from the girls,” she said. “We have a large senior group.” There are 10 seniors among 30 total swimmers on the squad, which is one of the largest teams ever at New Prairie. “I’m very encouraged by that,” Wojtysiak saidd. Five members of the team are divers — Savanah Keldsen, Allie Palmer, a former star gymnast, Samantha Clemons, Emily Elm, and MaryAnn Baum. Keldsen is a returner, while the other four are new. “We have a well-rounded group of girls,” Wojtysiak said. Team leadership will come from a variety of swimmers, including Harris, who has come through as a vocal leader for the team and in the water, Neuhold and Foster. “All three of them have very different personalities, so they mesh well with all the different personalities on the team,” Wojtysiak said. Besides those seniors, junior Goldenstern and sophomores Madison Waltz and Erin Johnson look to be big leaders in the pool. New Prairie is looking to improve as the season progresses.
-- compiled by Zack Eldridge
Coach: Mel Kovenz
Last year: Sixth in La Porte Sectional (179), 7th in Duneland Athletic Conference
Key losses: Cassie Mason, April Lawrenz
Key returners: Erin McGuire, So., Sarah Hyska, Sr., Dania Duenas, Jr.; Emily Gross, So.; Grace Thomas, Sr.; Aika Patejdl, Sr., Lydia Heitmann, So., Samantha Jasinski, So.
Outlook: The good news for the Wolves is they had just two seniors score three individual points in last year’s sectional, meaning they return a pool-full of experience. Many of them are sophomores, including McGuire, City’s top postseason performer, taking fifth in the 100 breast. Hyska placed top eight in the 50 and 100 free, while Thomas and Duenas were ‘B’ finalists in two events.