Heading into the new season, the area’s three girls swimming and diving teams are looking for continued improvement.
Fonda-Johnstown lost its top swimmer, Erica Askew, to graduation.
Askew was a sectional champion and state meet qualifier in the 100-yard breaststroke in 2012 and 2013. She also won a sectional title in the 200-yard medley.
Fonda-Johnstown, which finished ninth at last year’s Section II Division II meet, returns seven swimmers from last year’s team. Askew also was named a first-team all-star in the 200-yard individual medley and 100 breaststroke.
That group includes Erica Wagner, Cecelia Mowrey, Emily Miles, Alison Busch, Kat Cummings, Emma Rizzo and Julia Airey.
Mowrey was named a second-team Foothills Council all-star in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle, while Mowrey, Askew, Erica Wagner and Emily Miles combined to earn second-team honors in the 400 freestyle relay.
Rounding out the Fonda-Johnstown roster are newcomers Sophie Frenyea, Allison O’Connell and Samantha Wright.
“We look forward to the upcoming season with optimism. We have a strong core of returning swimmers that will help us to be competitive in every meet,” Fonda-Johnstown coach Julianna Popp said. “We are confident that we can qualify a large portion of our swimmers for events at sectionals.”
Gloversville has plenty of experience in its favor, as it returns 16 swimmers from last year’s team.
Jenna Cordone, Sara Curtis, Jada Diodato, Desiree Ives, Taylor Wadsworth, Sam McGillis, Kylie Cotugno, Mikayla Becker, Hayli Hohler, Kassidy Kemmer, Veronica McCray, Brookelynn Richardson, Emily Towne, Jennifer Vickery, Alex Vincent and Bailey Bradt all return for Gloversville-Mayfield.
Ives earned second-team Foothills Council all-star honors in the 100 backstroke last season for Gloversville-Mayfield, which went 5-3 overall last season.
“We are seeing a resurgence in our program this year yet again. Every one of these new swimmers and divers have come from the retooling of our modified program which has developed a larger focus on increasing quantity of yards to help even out the quality aspect,” Gloversville-Mayfield coach Mike Harrington said. “The result so far has been a swimmer who can move to the varsity level and swim a much tougher practice earlier in the season.”
Rounding out the Gloversville-Mayfield roster are newcomers Payton Biasini, Sierra Hayes, Alyssa Henley, Katlyn Rivera, Madison St. Pierre, Libby Sturgess-Mansell, Portia Szypula, Mykayla Vannostrand and Issabelle Willis.
“This new group brings a level of athleticism that will allow for freedom in building lineups that exploit the weaknesses in other teams. Overall, we are looking to begin and build on what we feel is a two-year window toward a championship,” Harrington said. “Last year, we made back some ground by moving from fourth in the Foothills Council to second, leaving Queensbury in front. We have a very young team still with only one senior, so our wave has yet to crest. We bring back an exceptional group of girls; with their experience and speed, we are looking to advance them in finals at sectionals, which will start to move us out of the middle of the pack.”
Gloversville-Mayfield also has five divers set to compete this season, under the tutelage of diving coach Joshua Morey.
“Our depth in the lanes and now on the boards is going to be our greatest strength this year, and as we add training and experience, this team is headed for another successful season with a championship possibly in reach,” Harrington said. “This season will prove to be another big step toward our pursuit of a Foothills crown.”
Amsterdam has just 13 swimmers on its roster heading into the season.
It includes Kayla Dzikowicz, Justine Youngs, Paige Bertuch, Tessa Conti, Destinie Dueno, Amea Hammonds, Gemma Liverio, Gulianna Pritchard, Katrina Reeber, Grace Patrei, McKenzie Farina, Lauren Santiago and Juliana Busseno.
Fonda-Johnstown opens its season Friday at Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk at 4:30 p.m., while Gloversville will host New Hartford on Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m. Amsterdam will host Albany Academy on Sept. 9 for its opener at 4:30 p.m.