By Mike Condon, corresponent
A look at Gazette area swimmers and teams to watch this fall for the 2018 season.
Emma Bachelder, jr. Decorah — Finished 14th in 50 freestyle (24.90) and 15th in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.76) at state last year.
Lily Ernst, jr., Iowa City West — Third in 100 butterfly (56.89) and eighth in 200 individual medly (2:09.99) at state.
Jill Hughes, sr. Cedar Rapids Washington — Placed 19th in 500 free (5:20.59) at state.
Sydney Jones, soph., Cedar Rapids Washington — Finished 19th in 100 back at state (1.00.99).
Shannon Kelley, jr., Linn-Mar — Placed 11th in 500 free (5:15.80) at state.
Elsie Novak, soph, Cedar Rapids Washington — Sixth in 100 fly (58.12) at state.
Lila Novak, soph., Cedar Rapids Washington — 15th in 100 free (54.24) at state.
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Anna Penning, sr. Cedar Rapids Jefferson — Placed 14h in diving (404.40) at state.
Aurora Roghair, soph. Iowa City West — Finished third in 200 free (1:52.76) and fourth in 500 free (5:02.40) at state.
Arabella Shepard, sr. Vinton-Shellsburg — Fourth in 100 back (57.23) and ninth in 100 fly (58.59) at state.
Ayla Taylor, sr., Cedar Rapids Washington — Placed 13th in diving (404.60) at state (404.60).
Carly Weigel, jr., Iowa City High — Tenth in 100 back (59.51) and 11th in 200 free (1:55.56) at state.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy — Coach Ivan Sanchez’s Cougars will rely heavily on young talent, namely a group of freshmen. That formula has been successful for many swim teams. Five veterans with state experience — seniors Reagan Linder and Kassidy Lovig, along with juniors Maddie Gannon, Ella Popenhagen and Anna Cater — are back. Sanchez is banking on a core of seven freshmen — Raylee King, Taylor Matta, Chloe Crist, Audrey Leno, Anne Baumann, Sydney Short and Hannah Brandt — to do big things for Kennedy. “We have a strong freshman class,” Sanchez said. “Our depth will determine how great we can be this season.”
Cedar Rapids Washington — Megan Lewis returns for her 11th year leading the Warriors and has a trio of sophomores expected to lead the way. Elise and Lila Novak, along with Sydney Jones, qualified for state last year with Elise Novak earning a podium finish, taking sixth in the 100-yard butterfly. Washington placed 11th with 80 points. Senior diver Ayla Taylor was 13th at state while another senior, Jill Hughes, was a solid distance performer. “We lost a lot of very talented seniors,” Lewis said. “We have some younger girls who work very hard as we look to rebuild our team.”
Iowa City West — Coach Byron Butler’s team was the top area finisher at last year’s state meet, taking eighth with 84 points. The Women of Troy could improve on that finish in 2018 with the return of sophomore Aurora Roghair and junior Lily Ernst. Both had two podium finishes at state in 2017 and will again lead the way for West. The key for West will be the development of some depth behind their top performers.