2013 Girls Swimming Preview: Making a Splash

After sending two swimmers to the state meet last season, the Johnstown girls swim team hopes to build on its success this season.

The Lady Bills will go it alone this year, competing without Fonda-Fultonville competitors as part of the team.

“Although we are no longer combined with Fonda, we will be returning many key swimmers from last season,” Johnstown coach Julianna Popp said.

Returning for Johnstown this season are Erica Askew, Erica Wagner, Cecilia Mowrey, Emily Miles, Emma Rizzo and Kaylie Bonfey.

Askew won the 100-yard breaststroke at the Section II Division II Championships and placed 17th at the state championships.

She also was named a first-team Foothills Council all-star in the 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke. She also was part of the first-team 200 medley relay team also with Hannah Palsgraf, Cecelia Mowrey and Meghan Bartlett.

The Fonda-Johnstown 200 freestyle relay team of Askew, Palsgraf, Bartlett and Wagner also earned second-team honors.

“We look for our returning members to be very competitive individually within the section,” said Popp, who in in her seventh year as coach. “We anticipate Erica Askew leading the team and once again returning to the state championship.”

Johnstown lost Palsgraf, Samantha Sweet, Morgan Casey and Bartlett from last year’s team. Bartlett made four trips to the state meet for Johnstown, finishing sixth last season. Bartlett also was named a first-team Foothills Council all-star in diving and a second-team all-star in the 50 freestyle.

Palsgraf was a second-team all-star in the 200 individual medley, while Mowrey earned second-team honors in the 500 freestyle.

The Lady Bills went 4-2 in dual meets in 2012 and placed fifth in the Section II Division II Championships.

Looking to fill the void will be newcomers Alison Busch, Julia Airey and Kat Cummings.

Johnstown is scheduled to open its season Sept. 12 when its travels to Queensbury. The Lady Bills’ first home meet is slated for Oct. 7 when they are slated to host Amsterdam.

Like Johnstown, Gloversville-Mayfield also lost one of its standouts to graduation.

Mary Kate Poulin and Andrea Smrtic are both gone from last year’s team.

Poulin was named a first-team Foothills Council all-star in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke.

“We have a very young team, heavy in talent which will take the pressure off a few and spread it across the lanes,” said Gloversville coach Mike Harrington, who is in his 11th season. “Our depth is going to be our greatest strength this year and as we add training and experience this team is headed for a rendezvous with success.”

Gloversville-Mayfield returns several competitors from last year’s team.

That group includes Jenna Cordone, Sara Curtis, Jada Diodato, Desiree Ives, Sam Stewart, Taylor Wadsworth, Sam McGillis and Kylie Cotugno.

Cotugno, a freshman, was named Foothills Council honorable mention in the 100 breaststroke. Cotugno also was part of the 200 medley relay team that earned honorable-mention status. Carolyn Peck, Alex Blanchard and Ives also were part of the team.

The 400 freestyle relay team of Poulin, Peck, Stewart and Curtis also was named honorable mention for Gloversville-Mayfield.

In addition to its returnees, Gloversville-Mayfield also has several newcomers on this year’s team.

That group includes Destiny Armstrong, Mikayla Becker, Morgan Fogg, Hayli Hohler, Kassidy Kemmer, Veronica McCray, Brookelynn Richardson, Brittany Rulison, Emily Towne, Jennifer Vickery and Alex Vincent.

Gloversville-Mayfield also has a new diving coach heading into the new season.

“Our diving program has had a face lift from last year with two new divers and a new diving coach. One of our divers has dove at the modified level for two years and our other two are first-year divers,” Harrington said. “Despite their newness on the board, they are quick studies and the progress that we are seeing on the board is very comforting. Our diving coach, Joshua Morey, was a Gloversville High School diver and went on to dive at Hartwick College and is the current 1-meter record holder at Gloversville as well as at Hartwick. He also is a coach with their summer diving camp which has allowed him to perfect his craft. We are seeing such huge improvements in our divers over the past few weeks and we are very much looking forward to seeing them in competition.”

Gloversville-Mayfield went 4-5 in dual meets last season, finished fourth in the Foothills Council and placed sixth at the Section II Division II Championships.

“We are beginning to see an upswing in our program this year. Every one of these ladies will be a major point scorers in the lanes for us and each brings a level of athleticism that will allow for freedom in building lineups that exploit the weaknesses in other teams,” Harrington said. “Overall we are looking to begin a build on what we feel is a two-year window toward a championship. This is the start of big things to come for our program and we are looking to continue to improve on our record as well as our placement at sectionals. “

Gloversville is scheduled to host Scotia-Glenville on Sept. 12 at 4:30 p.m.

Amsterdam placed ninth at the Section II Division II Championships.

Amsterdam is scheduled to host Albany in its season-opening meet Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.