DUNELAND ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Swimmers to watch: Tyler Fozkos, Sr., free, relays; Nick Brahos, Sr., IM, back, breast; Nate Schuster, Sr., distance; Joe Gerard, So., sprints; Nick Borzych, Jr., fly, back; Alex Olson, Sr., diving.
Outlook: Twelve-time state champ Kyle Whitaker is gone, but the Trojans should still be a formidable foe this season. Six-time state champ and Florida State recruit Fozkos leads Chesterton, which finished third at state last year. State qualifier Olson returns in the well, while a talented corp of freshmen enter the water. Blake Pieroni has already broken a few of Whitaker's age-group marks, while freshman twins Aaron and Ethan Whiataker will try to make a name for themselves.
Quote: "The freshmen have done a lot of damage at meets, so they have a lot of experience. They should really add to what we already have (on the roster)." -- coach Kevin Kinel
Swimmers to watch: Blake Yeager, Sr., free; Tyler Croell, Sr., diving; Marcus Trybula, Sr., free; Jordan McRae, Sr., relays; Joe Nejman, Sr.; Nick Ladowicz, Sr.
Outlook: The Bulldogs sent the most swimmers to state last season in the history of the program. However, C.P. scored just three points. While coach Doug Norris didn't make any bold predictions, the Bulldogs are expected to be one of the top teams in the region again.
Quote: "We've worked on the club team for 15 years. The club is now developed, and our high school program keeps getting better." -- Norris
Swimmers to watch: Teryn Solan, Sr., distance; Ryan Hebda, Sr., diving; Devin Shaughnessy, Sr., diving; Brian Johnson, Sr., sprints.
Outlook: Lake Central only sent Hebda and Shaughnessy to state for diving last season, so it can be said 2009-10 was a bit of an off year for the Indians. Solan is expected to help lead the team this season.
Quote: "We want to be competitive in the DAC, and I think the boys team can be. We're looking to get some guys back downstate and score some points." -- coach Todd Smolinski
Swimmers to watch: Josh Batten, Sr., diving; Derek Smith, Sr., diving; Austin Butcher, So., IM, back; Aaron Dobben, Sr., distance; Chris Klimczak, So, free, fly.
Outlook: Senior divers Batten, Smith and Josh Arndt could be one of the best diving corps in the area. Batten placed fifth at state, while Smith and Arndt placed in the top eight at sectional.
Quote: "We have a small nucleus (21). We might get hurt in dual meets, because we just don't have the depth. We've got some good quality kids, and our divers could lead the league." -- coach Bart Frank
Swimmers to watch: Jacob Caddick, Sr., free, breast; Alex Mathews, Sr., diving; Dave Jordan, Sr., free; Nick Badali, Jr., breast, free.
Outlook: The Pirates lost some talent last season in Colin Burke and Juan Rivera. Caddick and the other seniors will need to step up as a leader and help bring other swimmers along. The Pirates hope to improve upon last year's times.
Quote: "We are a team with good upperclassmen leadership, but we also have young inexperienced athletes." -- coach Ladd Downham
Swimmers to watch: Cameron Miller, Sr., breast, IM; Nate Quinlan, Sr., breast; Matt Quinlan, So., breast; Ryan Byers, Sr., back; Dustin Rivich, Sr., free.
Outlook: After back-to-back runner-up finishes in the 100 breast, Miller hopes to break through at the state meet in his final attempt. Nate Quinlan and Byers joined Miller at state a season ago, and the team continues to gain experience. Freshman Luke Latchford could provide a boost.
Quote: "Wer'e coming in with something to work with." -- coach Dan Jenkins.
Swimmers to watch: Alex Schreier, So., sprints; Garrett Piers, Jr., distance; Alex Rosales, So., diver; Cole Ozbolt, So., sprints; Jeremy Mendoza, So. distance.
Outlook: State finalists Christopher Schreier (2nd, 100 fly) and diver Alec Back (3rd) both graduated, but the Indians still have some talent on the roster. Freshmen Mikey James, Matt Bliss and Xavier Rosales should provide a lift.
Quote: "We're transforming. We realize it's not about who we lost. It's about who we've gained. The freshmen are getting acclimated to the scene." -- coach John Zack
Swimmers to watch: Matt Cain, Sr., back, distance; Johnny Bednar, Jr., sprints; Dion Low, Jr., breast, IM; Conner Sunday, Jr., fly, IM, back; Tony Trinoski, Sr., diving.
Outlook: Low broke the school's 200 IM mark by three seconds at last year's state meet and finished 10th. He also was 15th in the 100 breast. Cain, Bednar and Sunday continue to improve. Add Tim Blue to a quality veteran lineup, and the Low could have some teammates joining him at the state meet this season.
Quote: "Our guys have made improvements, and they continue to get better. We're looking to to get a bigger group down to state." -- coach Zach Hall.
GREAT LAKES ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Outlook: The Pioneers didn't place any swimmers into the Crown Point Sectional finals last season and will look to turn that around in 2011.
Outlook: Gavit was a very young team last season, so another year of experience should help the Gladiators compete in both the GLAC and in dual meets. Losing Olo Giryn to graduation will hurt, however.
Swimmers to watch: Will Rincon, Sr., relays; I.M., back; Rudy Morales, Jr., free; Erik Neveraz, So., breast, 200 free.
Outlook: Rincon, Morales and Neveraz will be counted on for leadership this season. There are 11 swimmers out for the Wildcats, and interest in the program keeps growing every season. Former Wildcat Darren McGarry is the new assistant coach and has helped recruit more swimmers.
Quote: "That's more than we've had in a long time (11 swimmers). It's nice to have more kids out." -- coach Sue Ann Mathewson
Swimmers to watch: Kyle Klingberg, Sr., sprints, I.M.; David Santana, Sr., 200 free, 500 free; Brock Daniels, Jr., 200 free, 500 free; Jose Quinoez, Jr., I.M., breast; Jonathan Sawyer, Jr., fly, back.
Outlook: The Governors have 19 swimmers out this season, including 11 freshmen. Morton lost team captain Roni Horgan to graduation, but he's back helping out as a volunteer assistant. The Governors hope to repeat as GLAC champions.
Quote: "We hope to hold our own, break a few records and improve a little bit from last year." -- coach Brian Rycerz
GREATER SOUTH SHORE CONFERENCE
Swimmers to watch: Wally Kasprzycki, Sr., fly, back; Steven Jackson, So., back, I.M.; Jake Miller, So., free; Anthony Repay, So., breast; Robbie Lorenz, So., I.M.; Anthony Rodriguez, So., fly; Brandon Banske, So., breast.
Outlook: As far as swimming at small schools is concerned, Bishop Noll had a very memorable 2009-10 season. Even without their own pool, the Warriors won the Greater South Shore Conference meet and will look to do the same this season. Steven Jackson gave the Warriors their best finish -- a seventh-place showing in the 100-yard backstroke -- at last season's Crown Point Sectional.
Quote: "Hopefully, at some point we'll get a feeder system for Hammond. We have a lot of interest in swimming this year." -- coach Pam Armagast
Swimmers to watch: David Price, Jr., fly, I.M.; Salvador Hernandez, So., back, free.
Outlook: The Warriors recently took a trip to Purdue to watch some college swimming, an event coach AnnMarie Keene said was helpful for the team.
Quote: "I'm expecting great things out of them." -- Keene
Swimmers to watch: Curt Holt, Sr., sprints; Matt Clemans, Sr., sprints; Jon Cample, Fr., free.
Outlook: The Spartans lost Josh Klahn and Aaron Castle to graduation last season. There are only six swimmers coming out regularly, so the focus is mainly on individual improvement.
Quote: "We're hoping to get some decent relay teams together and be competitive with that," coach Karen Cunningham
Swimmers to watch: Michael Tasicas, So., sprint, free, fly; C.J. Yadavia, Jr., breast, IM; Kellen Fekete, Sr., fly, back; Chester Wodetzki, So., distance, free; Christian Koch, So., distance.
Outlook: Five swimmers return to the lineup, and Fekete is the lone senior on the squad. Wheeler hopes to regain the conference crown.
Quote: "We have a positive outlook, because they guys are wanting to learn. It's been a while since I've a hard-working group like this." -- coach Rob Gass.
NORTHWEST CROSSROADS CONFERENCE
Swimmers to watch: Zach Pirtle, Sr., sprints; Zach Bozinovich. Sr., back; Danny Bolda, So., I.M., fly; Jeremy Starks, Sr., distance.
Outlook: Griffith hopes to finish the season with a winning record and be competitive in most of its meets.
Quote: "We will get a lot of from our seniors, but our freshman and sophomores will have to step up for us to be successful." -- coach Sam Fies
Swimmers to watch: Adam Johnston, Jr., 50-100 free; Steve Castillo, So., 50-100 free; Sam Zuke, Sr., fly; Matt Dyer, Jr., breast; Kevin Cook, Jr., mid-distance; Brian Zellers, Sr., distance; Nate Postel, Jr., sprint; Chris Larkin, Sr., diving.
Outlook: The Trojans sent Johnston to state in the 50 free last season, and the 200 free relay team of Castillo, Zuke, Dyer and Johnston also got a taste of competition at the IUPUI Natatorium. A plethora of talent is back for Highland, and improvement is expected team-wide.
Quote: "We're eyeing state cuts. We definitely want to get as many guys down (to state) as we can." -- coach Ryan Harrington
Swimmers to watch: Dan Lamphier, So., sprints; Zac Leonard, Jr., sprints, breast; Gary Cauley, Jr., sprints, back.
Outlook: Hobart has 10 boys out for the team this season, mostly underclassmen. It will likely be a rebuilding year, but the future looks bright for the Brickies as long as more swimmers come out for the team.
Quote: "We have a lot of boys new to high school swimming." -- coach Cindy Carter
Swimmers to watch: Robert Sittema, Sr., sprints, relays; Zach Ratliff, Jr., sprints, relays; Trevor Overstreet, Jr., diving; Nick Saliga, Sr., back, fly.
Outlook: The Kougars finished fourth in the NCC last season and hope to jump up to third in 2011. With Munster and Highland expected to go 1-2, coach Dan Roberts knows the other NCC teams will be in a battle for third place.
Quote: "We have a solid group of incoming freshmen. We're looking to win our K.V. Invite (in January)." -- Roberts
Swimmers to watch: Ries Plank, Sr.; Connor Wood, So.
Outlook: The Red Devils have a new coach, as Christine Bisacchi hands over the reins to Kristen LeClere. Lowell's main loss from last season was Mike Besaw, so the Red Devils have a good core back this season.
Swimmers to watch: Kevin Behrens, Sr., fly, back, relays; Dillon Thompson, Sr., distance; Frank Rapin, Sr., distance; Josh Martin, Sr., back, I.M., free; Kyle Rucker, Jr., sprints, distance; Max Kilibarda, Sr., free, relays; Sean Kloughessy, So., diving; Kale Terpstra, Jr., diving.
Outlook: It was a memorable 2009-10 season for Munster swimming, as the Seahorses finished second at state, just 28 points behind powerhouse Carmel. The Auburn-bound Behrens is one of the best returning swimmers in the state. Thompson and Rapin can also pull their weight in many events. The Seahorses should remain a juggernaut this season.
Quote: "Last season was special year for us. I think we can still put together a solid team this year. I'm still excited." -- coach Matt Pavlovich
Outlook: The Cardinals will search for team-wide improvement after finishing last in the Crown Point Sectional last season.
Swimmers to watch: Casey Hooker, Sr., fly, distance, relays.
Outlook: The Bombers lost a great deal of depth to graduation, especially Ben Scheurich, who finished fifth in the 100 freestyle and sixth in the 50 freestyle at the state meet. Rensselaer, which finished fourth in last season's Crown Point Sectional, will need to rely on Hooker for leadership and the younger swimmers for depth.
!~ By Times Sportswriter Jim Hunsley and Times Correspondent Matt Douthett