High school girls swimming: 2018 team previews

Fox Valley Conference


Coach: Scott Lattyak (ninth season)

Last year: Fourth at FVC Meet

Top returners: Ayden Donfris, jr.; Emily Marks, so.; Payton Walsh, jr.; Emma Boldwyn, sr.

Key newcomers: Ali Cielak, fr.; Audrey Boldwyn, fr.; Kaitlyn Bruhn, fr.; Madelyn Dolezal, fr.; Elizabeth Fournier, fr.; Molly Gilbert, fr.; Lauren Vezeau, fr.

Worth noting: The Trojans lost four of their top swimmers to graduation and are looking for their first Fox Valley Conference championship since 2013 ... C-G will be younger this year and brings back only three seniors. ... As many as seven freshmen are expected to make a varsity impact, Lattyak said. ... "This year our team has a large freshman class, which is very promising for the future growth of the team," Lattyak said. "It’s a very solid and talented team. It's always nice to have a big crew of very experienced swimmers, but our seniors and juniors are up for the task."

Crystal Lake co-op

(with Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South and Prairie Ridge)

Coach: John Valentine (second season)

Last year: Second at FVC Meet

Top returners: Caitlin Pieroni (PR), sr.; Sarah Niemann (PR), so.; Jamie Gindorf (PR), jr.; Makayla Nietzel (PR), so.; Rachel Henderson (CLS), jr.

Key newcomers: Maggie Noftz (CLC), fr.

Worth noting: The Crystal Lake co-op team will look a lot different this season without Valerie Tarazi, a four-time Northwest Herald Girls Swimmer of the Year and 2017 Female Athlete of the Year award winner. The Prairie Ridge graduate and Auburn freshman won eight state medals in her career: one first-place medal, three seconds, one third, one fifth, one sixth and one ninth. ... Nietzel, who is legally blind, advanced to state in four events as a freshman, winning all four and setting state records in the 50-yard freestyle, 100 free, 200 free and 100 breaststroke for athletes with disabilities. ... Nietzel and Gindorf, along with Tarazi and Niemann, were on two conference-winning relays: the 200 free relay and 200 medley relay. Gindorf was the 2016 FVC Newcomer of the year.


Coach: Amy Field (third season)

Last year: Seventh at FVC Meet

Top returners: Cailey Cimera, sr.; Mady Gomez, sr.; Sara Merkelz, jr.; Fiona Lukes, jr.

Key newcomers: Elle McKinney, jr.; Maggie Hillyer, fr.; Coral Howard, so.

Worth noting: Field is expecting big seasons from upperclassmen in Cimera, Gomez and Merkelz. All three are capable of breaking long-standing program records, Field said. Gomez is eyeing a state berth in the 100 backstroke. ... The team's 35 swimmers between varsity and JV make up the largest in program history. 12 are freshmen. ... Brian Esposito is the new assistant coach. ... "We are really hoping for a fun year," Field said. "We have been focusing a lot on team building. We should have a stronger season, but (the FVC) is a tough conference with a number of co-op teams."


Coach: Jenna Gaudio (first season)

Last year: Third at FVC Meet

Top returners: Katelyn Carlson, sr.; Riley O'Donnell, sr.

Key newcomers: Abigail DeVries, fr.; Caitlyn Gooden, fr.; Alyssa Tramuta, fr.; Ella Young, fr.

Worth noting: Carlson is currently rehabbing an injury, but is expected back by the end of the season, Gaudio said. She made big strides in the 100 backstroke as a junior. ... Gaudio enters her first year at head coach after being the assistant for Huntley's boys and girls teams the last two years. Assistant coach Laura Pellegrino and Gaudio are both Huntley graduates. ... "We are focused on building our strength and endurance, both in the pool and with cross-training," Gaudio said. We have a relatively young team with five freshmen and a wide variety of talent. After a few practices, I have been really impressed with our seniors, who have stepped up as leaders for the incoming freshmen. This is going to be an incredible season."

Jacobs co-op

(with Hampshire)

Coach: Emily Peterson (fifth season)

Last year: First at FVC Meet

Top returners: Jenny Tokarz (J), so.; Julia Koltuniuk (J), so.; Olivia Johnson (J), so.; Sydney Skertich (J), so.; Megan Herrera (J), sr.; Makaylin Monasterio (J), sr.; Alex Peterson (J), sr.

Key newcomers: Kate Trembly (J), fr.; Tiffany Taller (J), so.

Worth noting: Jacobs co-op placed first at the FVC Invite, beating Crystal Lake co-op by 40 points. ... Tokarz was named FVC Newcomer of the Year after winning the 200 free and 500 free. She teamed up with graduate Izzy Bavaro, Herrera and Atzi Gomez to win the 400 free relay. Tokarz took third at sectionals in the 500 free with a personal-best time of 5:05.47 and made it to state, placing 18th at preliminaries. ... Trembly has been Jacobs' second-fastest swimmer behind Tokarz in practices. ... "The girls are really focused on improving this season," Peterson said. "They have a lot to live up to from our extremely successful season and are all sharing very positive mindsets. We have a very strong group of sophomores that played a big role in the team's accomplishments last year."


Coach: George Keenan (first season)

Last year: Fifth at FVC Meet

Top returners: Payton Lange, sr.; Caileigh McCafferty, sr.; Megan Frost, sr.

Worth noting: Keenan takes over for Julia Komrska, who coached one year for the Warriors. ... McHenry returns three swimmers with state experience in Lange, McCafferty and Frost. ... Lange went to state as a freshman and returned the next year, competing and placing in the 50 free and 100 free. She did not swim last year with the Warriors. ... McCafferty claimed the 200 IM and 100 free titles at last year's FVC Meet and was named Most Valuable Swimmer with Tarazi. She made it to state two years ago as part of McHenry's 200 free relay and 400 free relay teams. Frost was also on the 400 free relay team at state.

Woodstock co-op

(with Woodstock North)

Coach: Renee Walker (fifth season)

Last year: Sixth at FVC Meet

Top returners: Lucia Alcazar (W), jr.; Angelina Scolio (W), jr.; Abbie Heidtke, (W), so.; Autumn Zimmerman (WN), so.

Key newcomers: Haley Halsall (W), fr.; Ireland Dunnett (W), fr.

Worth noting: Woodstock North co-op doubled in size, going from 11 swimmers last season to 22. ... Zimmerman sat out her entire freshman season after shoulder surgery. ... Alcazar, Scolio, Heidtke, Zimmerman and Halsall all have an opportunity to medal (place top-six) at conference, Walker said. ... "We are working hard on being stronger and healthier athletes across the board this year and to increase our strength and speed in the water," Walker said. "We added new cross training to our routine. With a bigger team this year, we are also striving for more wins."

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