20 August 2012

Girls Swimming: Two tough acts to follow

Kaitlyn O'Reilly: All-state in 3 events in 2011 (photo by Jim Lindquist)
After two consecutive record-breaking seasons, coach Jen Marshall and her Tigers are looking for another solid year in 2012.

Last fall Farmington broke eight school records and scored 72 points at the Class AA State Championships where it finished 13th in the team standings.

Seven swimmers and divers from that squad graduated last spring, but 18 return: seniors Maddie Alexander and Robin Ellis; juniors Katie Aaron, Nikki Cyard, Sydney Geiger, Chloe Holton, Sara Kintner, Courtney L'Heureux, Kaitlyn O'Reilly, Cora Ruzicka and Hannah Seitzinger; sophomores Kate King, Kirsten Kracke, Kendall Novak, Ellie Sundet and Hanna Sundt and freshmen Chelsea Gehrke and Teri Sontag.

Newcomers expected to push for spots in the starting lineup include junior Abby Kampa, eighth-grader Amanda Davenport and seventh-graders Catherine Gehrke and Grace Roach.

Kirsten Kracke: All-state in 2011 (photo by Jim Lindquist)
O'Reilly and Kracke, both bring with them state meet success. O'Reilly earned all-state recognition in three events and Kracke one last season. Ruzicka joined O'Reilly and Kracke on the 2011 all-Missota Conference team.

Marshall said O'Reilly seems primed for even more success in 2012.

"Kaitlyn has trained hard in the off-season and is looking strong in the water," she said. "She's set some lofty goals and I'm confident she'll do everything she can to achieve them."

Notably absent from the Tiger fall camp is sophomore Zoe Avestruz who earned all-state honors in two events last year before moving to Missota Conference rival Chanhassen during the off-season.

"Zoe's loss is a big one,"" Marshall said, "but I'm happy she's at Chanhassen. That team will be a good fit for her. She'll only strengthen their relays, two of which will probably be in the top three in the state."

Marshall said the 2012 edition of Tiger swimming and diving should benefit from it past exerience and success at big meets and she likes the team's leadership, cohesiveness and work ethic.

Cora Ruzicka: All-Missota Conference 2011
"We should be in the top three in both the conference and section," she said. "Our goal is to get back to state in five individual events and two relays."

Marshall tabbed Northfield and Chanhassen as the pre-season picks to lead the race for conference honors with two Rochester Schools, John Marshall and Mayo, the teams to beat in Section 1AA.

Former Tiger Joe Velaski returns for his fifth year as varsity assistant coach. John Tegg will work with the divers and boy's varsity coach Ryan Hamen will coach the middle school team.

The Tigers host the seven other conference schools Thursday, Aug. 23, for the Missota Conference Relays at the Dodge Middle School pool.

"Overall, this team is very driven," Marshall said. "I'm excited to see what the season brings."