Duneland Athletic Conference
Athletes to watch: Kelly Craig, So., distance, breast; Vanessa Krause, So., fly, free.
Outlook: Cara Kroger headlines a standout class of nine freshmen. Craig and Krause both advanced to the second day of the state finals last season. The Trojans placed fifth at state. This lineup has veteran coach Kevin Kinel looking forward to a great season.
Athletes to watch: Rachael Bukowski, Sr., 50, 100 free; Holly Schuster, Sr., IM, 500 free; Ally Tetzloff, Jr., fly, back; Mackenzie Artim, So., 100, 200 frees; Alex St. Amour, Jr., breast, IM; Hannah Kukuruga, Fr., fly, 500 free.
Outlook: The Bulldogs have set a goal to improve on last year’s sixth place in the state meet. “(We want to) make a run at the DAC championship and a sectional title,” coach Bryon Angerman said.
Athletes to watch: Traci Muszalski, Sr., 200, 500 frees; Holly Spears, Sr., sprints; Victoria Springman, So., sprints; Marina Vasquez, So., back, fly; Hailey Garlich, Jr., IM, back.
Outlook: The Indians lost the sectional by just two points and sent several swimmers to state. “We are coming off one of the best seasons we have had and are looking to build off the success heading into this year,” coach Todd Smolinski said.
Outlook: The graduation loss of multi-state finalist Carly Jackson, who is now at Eastern Michigan, puts the Slicers in a rebuilding mode.
Athletes to watch: Caitlinn Caddick, Sr., backstroke; Maggie Connelly, Sr., frees; Jennifer Meloy, Sr., IM, frees; Imani Smith, Sr., breast; Robin Townsend, Jr.; fly, free, breast; Kennidy Wilck, Sr., free, fly.
Outlook: It’s going to be a challenging season for the Pirates who were hit hard by graduation. “The girls are pushing hard to get ready,” coach Ladd Downham said. “We are looking forward to see which spots they are going to fill in the lineup.”
Outlook: The Wolves placed sixth at last season's Chesterton Sectional, but the returning group has a chance to improve that mark this winter.
Athletes to watch: Jordan Parker, Sr., back; Courtney Joseph, Sr., fly; Ali Sobkowski, So., free.
Outlook: Coach Greg Mundt is optimistic about this season. The Indians lost one sectional finalist from last season's squad, and experienced freshmen Nancy Michko, Hannah Burney and Hailey Servaty have been added to the roster.
Athlete to watch: Taylor McBride, Jr., diving.
Outlook: State qualifiers Kaitlyn Steffus and Khalela El-Naggar (diving) both graduated, but that doesn't mean this will be a rebuilding season for coach Pete Sattler. McBride advanced to regional last winter.
Great Lakes Athletic Conference
Athletes to watch: Krysta Syler, Sr., IM; Sara Kruszinsky, Sr., frees, fly; Abby Salazar, Sr.
Outlook: The Pioneers return nine swimmers, about the same number as a year ago. New coach Kelly Mickey, who previously coached at Gavit, expects improvement from everyone. The Pioneers will look to contend for the conference crown and advance relays out of sectional.
Athletes to watch: Corissa Boerner, So., frees; Samantha Cole, Sr., IM, breast; Amber Earl, Jr., sprints, fly.
Outlook: Under the guidance of first-year coach Emily Smith, the Gladiators will look to battle for the conference after falling one point shy a year ago.
Athletes to watch: Taz Dixon, Sr., sprints; Alicia Gonzalez, Sr., distances.
Outlook: The Wildcats expect some newcomers up from the middle school team. They have to swim at Gavit as their pool is under repair. “I think we will be small, but competitive, once we get going,“ coach Sue Ann Mathewson said. “I hope to do better in conference and take top honors.”
Athletes to watch: Lillian Mendoza, Sr., distances; Courtney Keilman, Sr., IM, fly; Alyssa Garvey, Sr., breast, 500 free; Megan Reeves, Jr., 100, 200 frees.
Outlook: The numbers are up for the Govs, as they have 13-15 girls on the team. “It’s kind of nice to have a group of girls who know how to swim,” coach Brian Rycerz said.
Greater South Shore Conference
Athletes to watch: Madison Stahura, Sr., fly; Kaelyn Czubak, Sr., back; Caitlynn Edinger, Sr., IM, distances.
Outlook: It’s a work in progress, building the Noll program with having a remote pool location and swimmers from Indiana and Illinois. “The girls are up for the challenge, working hard and looking stronger,” coach Pam Armagast said.
Athletes to watch: Elizabeth Stanford, Jr. IM, fly; Eve Hammersley, Sr., 200.
Outlook: Coach AnnMarie Keene is in the fourth year of resurrecting the Warrior program and it’s still a work in progress. Stanford has the chance to set multiple school records. “We graduated a handful of seniors, and we’re in the rebuilding mode.”
Athletes to watch: Rebekah Schara, So., free, sprints; Ashley O’Connell, So., breast, free; Anyssa Long, So., free, IM; Emilee McCracken, Sr., back; Kelsie Hesh, Sr., free, sprints; Elizabeth Garcia, Sr., free, back.
Outlook: The Spartans have many new swimmers this season, and coach Ashley Combs-Long is confident in their abilities. “The girls we have are positive and dedicated and are ready to tackle the swim season,” Combs-Long said.
Athletes to watch: Cameron Klimczak, Fr., back, free, IM.
Outlook: Tori Klimczak graduated, and younger sibling Cameron is now the one-person squad. "I think (Cameron) feels comfortable," S.C. coach and mother Gretchen Klimczak said. "She's watched Tori and (older brother) Kane (compete) the last few years, so she knows the drill."
Athletes to watch: Sara Helermich, Jr., distance; Katie Wong, Jr., sprints; Rachel Metzger, So., fly, free.
Outlook: Freshman Gabi Gilliana is a welcome addition to a roster that coach Adam Klimczak calls small but strong. He knows the entire lineup needs to step up to repeat as league champions.
Northwest Crossroads Conference
Outlook: First-year coach Victoria Zimmerman said she has some swimmers working real hard and didn’t want to single out any individuals. “We have some girls that will step up and develop as the season goes on,” she said.
Athletes to watch: Jacklyn Smailis, Jr., sprint, frees, back; Marie Stockton, Sr., breast; Jesenia Zendejas, Sr., distances.
Outlook: Smailis finished 11th in the state in the 100 back and will make up part of some strong relay teams. “We’ve got high expectations, as we did last year,” coach Ryan Harrington said.
Athletes to watch: Alivia Pender, Sr., back, free, fly; Kaylee Gubricky, Jr., free, breast; Marina Ahner, Fr. free, breast; Becca Dauro, So., free, back.
Outlook: The Brickies are ahead of last year’s group at this point in terms of development and have a solid core of underclassmen. “I expect some great things from these girls,” coach Jon Foddrill said. “They are working extremely hard and are excited to see what they can accomplish this year.”
Athletes to watch: Madison Babicka, Sr., sprints, fly: Abbey Sittema, Sr., IM, distances; Jordan Brodner, Sr., diving; Jordan Rhoades, Sr., back; Audra Lewis, Sr., breast; Brittany Stepp, Sr., sprints.
Outlook: The Kougars look to build on last year’s success. “I am expecting my core group of seniors to keep challenging themselves and hopefully be a factor in the conference and sectional meets,” coach Kevin Stephens said.
Athletes to watch: Catey Lewis, Sr., frees; Catie Karstensen, Sr., diving; Samantha Chalmers, Sr., back.
Outlook: The Red Devils have a young team and are building for the future and wins might be hard to come by. “I have a lot of confidence in the next couple years, we’ll step up and get a good solid base like we had a couple of years ago,” coach Sherry Hilbrich said.
Athletes to watch: Mary Bridget Baeza, Jr., IM, breast; Mary Beth Blocher, Sr., sprints; Allison Cunningham, Jr., distances; Heather Hemingway, Sr., back; Ashley Hwang, Sr., fly, free, breast; Emily Lagestee, Sr., free, back; Audrey Mayer, Jr., free, back; Nicole Smith, Jr., fly, IM; Laine Sroge, Sr., free, fly.
Outlook: The Stangs again have a great group of swimmers in every grade and welcome new diving coach Bill Chappo, who’s taking over for Cassandra Smith. “Our incoming freshman should prove themselves quickly as a key to this team’s success,” said coach Matt Pavlovich said.
Athlete to watch: Lorena Enriquez, Sr., middle distance.
Outlook: Andriana Martinez, an original E.C. Central Lady Shark, takes over as coach of the Cardinals. She welcomes 14 swimmers into the fold as compared to 2 last year. "The next generation of E.C. Central swimming has just begun," she said.
Athletes to watch: Ava Davisson, So., breast, IM; Lauren Powell, So., frees; Karli Siegrist, Jr., frees; Lauren Hunter, So., fly.
Outlook: The Bombers have a strong group of juniors to go along with some talented sophomores and look to make a run at the Hoosier Conference title.