NORTHWEST CONFERENCE GIRLS’ SWIMMING PREVIEW
Coach: Leslie Mix
Top swimmers: Kassandra Beseau, 100 breast, 100 back; Kellie Huff, 200 IM, 100 fly; Rosie Jenssen, 200 IM, 100 fly; Allie Herrick, diving; Hayley Rieger, 100 back
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Outlook: The defending Class 2A state champions lost standout swimmers Dana Dutton and Natalie Day, but return a handful of state placers. The Seahawks will contend for league, district and stat titles.
BELLINGHAM RED RAIDERS
Coach: Dana Beatty
Top swimmers: Bryn Hubbard, Jr., 200 IM, 100 back, 100 free, 200 free; Rachel Sager, Jr., 100 free, 200 free, 500 free; Ashley Kuiken, Jr., 50 free, 100 free, 200 free; Megan Ellison, Sr., 50 free, 100 breast; Alli Townsend, Sr., 200 IM, 100 fly; Natalie Vwich, Sr., diving; Jane Clark, So., diving; Lyndsey Seefried, Fr., 200 IM, 100 fly, 100 free
Outlook: Bellingham doesn’t have the depth of Sehome or Anacortes, but will produce some state swimmers. Vwich was third at state in diving last fall and should compete for the title this season. Hubbard, Ellison, Sager and Kuiken were on relay teams that qualified for state. Hubbard (200 IM) and Sager (200 and 500 free) also advanced in individual events.
Coach: David Cleave
Top swimmer: Carolyn Wortham, So., 50 free
Outlook: The Tigers return some experience, but are a young team. Wortham is a state veteran and one of the conference’s better swimmers.
FERNDALE GOLDEN EAGLES
Coach: Mary Guest
Top swimmers: Erin Parkinson, So., 100 breast, 500 free; Cara Jerde, Jr., 100 fly, 100 back; Natalya Len, Jr., 100 breast, 50 free, 100 free; Inga Holmdahl, So., 200 free, 500 free; Amanda Hunt, Jr., 500 free, 100 back; Maggie McLaurin, Fr., 100 free, 200 free
Outlook: Parkinson qualified for state in the 200 IM and 100 breast. She was Ferndale’s first district champion, winning the 200 IM, and should be even better this season. Len is also an accomplished swimmer, helping a relay team set a school record last fall.
Coach: Linda Bode
Top swimmers: Kelly Kirby, 200 IM, 500 free; Grace Alspaugh, 100 back, 200 IM; Catherine Olson, 100 breast; Danelle Himango, 100 fly; Leah McKee, 100 breast
Outlook: The Lions have a small team, which means they won’t score many points in dual meets. Alspaugh is one of the district’s 100 backstrokers. Swimmers from Lynden Christian and Nooksack Valley are also on the team, so the team competes at the Class 3A level.
MOUNT VERNON BULLDOGS
Coach: David Cleave
Top swimmer: Kristen LeGro, Sr., 50 free, 100 free
Outlook: Cleave says the Bulldog’s state-qualifying relay teams return intact. Graduation didn’t hurt the squad.
Coach: David Cleave
Top swimmer: Andrea Emde, Sr., 50 free, 100 free
Outlook: The Cubs have only two seniors and Emde is the only returning swimmer with state experience.
Coach: Don Helling
Top swimmers: Hilary Berg, Sr., 100 free, 200 free, 100 back; Chelsea Billings, Sr., 100 fly, 200 IM; Natalie Day, Sr., 100 breast, 50 free; Krisann Jones, Sr., 100 free, 50 free, 100 fly; Shawna Monks, Sr., 500 free; Kelsey Wilson, Sr., 500 free, diving; Kelley Gregory, Jr., 200 free, 100 fly; Bryn Smith ,Jr., 200 IM; Michelle Lam, So., 500 free, 50 free, 200 IM
Outlook: Defending district champion Sehome will contend with Anacortes for the conference and district titles. Gregory, Billings, Day, Jones, Smith and Lam return with state experience. Gregory advanced to the state finals in her individual events. Helling says the team has picked up some key contributors, notably freshman Ali Fisher. The Mariners placed seventh at state last season and could improve on that.
Coach: Steve Gibb
Top swimmers: Jessica Vlasic, Jr., 200 IM, 500 free, 200 free, 100 back; Maddi Tiller, 100 breast, 50 free, 100 free; Amber Mulder, 200 IM, 100 back, 200 free, 500 free; Kelly Shilaneck, freestyle; Katelyn Wattanaporn, 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly; Sophia Parker, freestyle, 100 back
Outlook: The Storm graduated talented Kelly Runestrand, but have another top-end swimmer in Vlasic. The junior could qualify for state in just about any event — she’s already done it in the 50 free — but the 200 and 500 free might be her best. The Storm are one of the top three teams in the NWC.