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updated: 9/4/2014 11:08 AM

Girls swimming: Scouting the Fox Valley

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  • Cary-Grove's Melissa Rose is one of the top returning breaststroke swimmers in the state.

      Cary-Grove's Melissa Rose is one of the top returning breaststroke swimmers in the state.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

By Mike Miazga
Daily Herald Correspondent

Cary-Grove TrojansCoach: Scott Lattyak

2013 finish: Fox Valley Conference champions

Top returning swimmers: Senior Melissa Rose (breaststroke), sophomores Ashlynn Baker (100, 200), Karsen Seeger (100, 200, 500)

Key newcomers: Freshmen Emily Havard (breaststroke, 100, 200 IM), Sarah Pilut (50, 100, backstroke), Sejal Dhindsa (500, 100, backstroke)

Outlook: The Trojans will look to defend their FVC title. Rose headlines the list of returners. She won FVC and sectional titles in the breaststroke and took 26th in the state. "We have more diversity in the different events, which will help with our conference lineup," said Lattyak. "Our team goal this year is to qualify some relays to state."

Crystal Lake Co-OpCoach: Stephanie Wozny

2013 finish: Fifth place Fox Valley Conference

Top returning swimmers: Senior Elizabeth Pieroni (Prairie Ridge, sprint freestyle), sophomores Nora Mollitor (Prairie Ridge, freestyle), Tessa Shorten (Prairie Ridge, sprint freestyle)

Key newcomers: Freshmen Valerie Tarazi (Prairie Ridge, all events), Iliana Portincaso (Crystal Lake Central, freestyle, backstroke), Jensen Byer (Crystal Lake South, freestyle, IM, breaststroke)

Outlook: Youth and depth are the names of the game with the Crystal Lake co-op team. "We are a young team so we will have the ability to fill every event at every meet," said Wozny. "With the addition of Valerie, Iliana and Jensen, we have a good group of committed, hardworking girls who have goals of doing well at sectionals this year. I believe our depth is better this year, which will allow us to be more competitive. We have a great group of freshmen who are enthusiastic and are working hard. It will be fun to watch them develop and improve over the next four years. The older girls are doing a nice job of welcoming their new teammates and showing them the ropes." Wozny said a swimmer to keep an eye on is Tarazi. "She will give people a run for their money," she said. "She is well-known in Illinois swimming so she will not be a surprise. She will definitely make her mark in November." Wozny said teams to watch in the FVC include Cary-Grove, Huntley and Jacobs. "We would like to be in the Top 3 in conference and the Top 5 at sectionals," she said.

Elgin-Larkin co-opCoach: Carl Metzke

2013 finish: Ninth place Upstate Eight Conference

Top returning swimmers: Juniors Olivia Brownfield (Elgin), Heather Aubry (Elgin), sophomore Lilly Woerner (Elgin)

Key newcomers: Junior Liz Martinez (Larkin), freshmen Nicole Levandowski (Elgin), Makenna Downing (Elgin)

Outlook: The Elgin-Larkin co-op team is loaded with underclass talent. "We have very few varsity seniors and a big underclass," said Metzke. "The experience of the seniors will definitely help our younger girls learn the ins and outs of high school swimming. We work really well as a team and are constantly pushing each other in practice to get better. The team has a positive mental attitude and a bunch of fresh faces that will all contribute to our success. As a team we will strive to stay healthy, get stronger, get faster and improve our mental toughness."

Jacobs-Hampshire co-opCoach: Emily Susmarski

2013 finish: 5-0 Fox Valley Conference

Top returning swimmers: Senior Faith Terlecki, juniors Jackie O'Connor, Sydney Erickson, Rochelle Sia, sophomore Alexa Agoranos

Key newcomers: Freshmen Olivia Zawdzmi, Isabelle Bavaro, Katie O'Connor

Outlook: Susmarski, in her first season as coach, is no stranger to Jacobs. She's a 2009 graduate and was a varsity swimmer all four years. She takes over a team that went unbeaten in FVC duals last season. "Our season goal and aspiration is to improve our standing at the conference meet and hopefully develop some state qualifiers," she said. "Our strengths are our team-building and team bonding, depth and more conditioning work and cross-training." Susmarski said Cary-Grove will be a team to watch in the FVC this season.

Dundee-Crown, Huntley and the Bartlett/Streamwood/South Elgin co-op did not respond to requests for information.

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