For the coach of the Mid-Suburban League's defending champion girls swimming and diving team, things are already falling into place nicely.
Andrew Kittrell had identified the breaststroke and butterfly as a couple of trouble spots in his dual meet lineup heading into the season.
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But after the Vikings' victory over defending MSL East champion Hersey, those trouble spots are already starting to fade, courtesy Fremd's senior captains Samantha Barry and Jillian Marsden.
Barry produced the top time in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.94), and Marsden took third in the 100 fly and 200 free as Fremd won 103-75 in a dual held at Olympic Pool in Arlington Heights.
"We have some holes to fill in our lineup," said Kittrell, "but Sam and Jill are really ahead of where I thought they'd be at this point of the season. They've done a nice job of settling a couple of spots for us."
Meanwhile, a flexible and capable core of competitors from last year's team are already in fine form. Winners Tuesday included Saki Takumiya (200 IM), Grace Kneller (100 free), Loretta Stelnicki (50 free), Erica King (500 free) and Julia Portmann(200 free, 100 fly).
"I'd say we're a little bit smaller team this year," said Stelnicki, "but I think everybody's excited about the season."
Hersey's main point of excitement Tuesday was diving, where returning state qualifier Hannah Bovino had the top score (205.10). Fremd's Sydney Plichta was second at 190.55.
With Hersey's Anne Johnson, Kelly Haines and Megan Nocita and Fremd's Sarah McTague and Lauren Shoaf and Alexis Smith each posting scores better than 150, this might have been the MSL's best diving dual of the entire year, at least in terms of depth.
Hersey swim coach Dick Mortensen is still adjusting to a very young group, and as the Huskies gear up for a run at a seventh straight MSL East title, he's aware it'll be anything but easy.
"Last year, I could do a meet lineup in 20 minutes," he said. "This year, it's taking me four hours. I'm still finding out a lot about my team every day in practice and in meets.
"I'm sure we'll have a few more rough spot than we've had in the past. But I've got kids that are working hard and earning it every day, and those are the kind of kids you love to coach."
Conant d. BG: Allison Cicero had legs on two winning relays and also was an individual winner for the host Cougars in the 200-meter IM and 100 fly as Conant topped BG 123-63.
Freshman Leaf Cejvan won the 200 free and 100 breaststroke, Paulina Wolska won the 400 free, Samantha Wooley took top honors in the 100 back and Katie Kopp, Emily Weingart and Lexi Correa delivered a 1-2-3 diving finish for Conant.
BG's Sarah Morosan won the 50 free in 28.60.
Elk Grove d. Hoffman Estates: Simona Kurta won the 200-yard IM (2:20.78) and the 100 fly (1:02.13) and freshman Erin Falejzck took top honors in the 50 and 100 freestyles as the host Grens prevailed 85-63.
Hoffman Estates won both freestyle relays, with Sarah Miles, Casey Rawlings, Megan Bonney and Jessica Sullivan in the 200 and Sullivan, Nicole Kasman, Bonney and Miles in the 400.
Palatine d. Prospect: Palatine's Kristin Anderson won both sprint freestyles and had legs on the winning freestyle relays as the Pirates bettered the Knights 100-83.
Sisters Amy and Lily Zahn combined for a 1-2 finish in the 200 free, and Palatine also counted victories from Amy Zahn in the 100 fly, Laura Mayer in the 200 IM and Tess O'Brien in the 400 free.
Prospect's wins came in the 200 medley relay, from Betsy Rozow in the 100 back, from Rachel Rozow in the 100 breaststroke and in diving, where junior Dana Liva produced a stellar score of 244.50.
Barrington d. Wheeling: The host Fillies got off to a great start in their first MSL dual.
Individual winners for Barrington included Andrea Vega (200 IM, 100 breast), Emma Barnett (200 free), Tiffany Soto (diving), Emma Toth (500 free), and in a pool-record clocking, Mekenna Scheitlin in the 100-yard freestyle (51.82).
Junior Theresa Godlewski won both the 100 backstroke (59.94) and 50 free (25.14) for Wheeling.
Schaumburg d. Rolling Meadows: Abigail Langlotz, Madeline Langlotz and Sydney Skibinski were each double winners individuall to help the host Saxons in a 112-73 victory over Rolling Meadows.
Abigail Langlotz won the 200- and 400-meter freestyles; Madeline Langlotz won the 50 and 100 free and Skibinski won the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke. The Saxons also got a 1-2-3 sweep in diving from Melissa Huber, Caiti Poland and Dawn Nowlin.
Rolling Meadows' winners were Bailey Rowley in the 100 fly and Terese Perille in the 100 back.