The Wauseon swim team is poised to have another strong season with many district and state qualifiers returning on both sides.
For the girls team, they return 11 from a team that finished as a Division II district runner-up.
“We are set to have big improvements across the board,” said head coach Tony Schuette. “That includes developing new talent and continuing to develop the ladies who performed well for us last year. We anticipate all athletes returning to both the district and state meets, in addition to adding some new athletes to that list.”
Notable returning athletes are Macy Gerig (district qualifier), Natalie Kuntz (district qualifier), Grace Rhoades (state/district qualifier), Emilie Wasnich, Maggie Duden (state/district qualifier), Cameron Estep, Makayla Kebschull (district qualifier), Myley McGinnis (district qualifier), Eva Mennetti (district qualifier), Josie Callan and Sarayna Russell (state/district qualifier).
“Coming off a very successful 2020 season, we expect to see gains in our returning swimmers,” said Schuette. “We anticipate many athletes to make big improvements in their individual events and we hope that they are able to move up into scoring positions at the district meet. We have a good amount of depth with girls that can participate in every event throughout our meet lineup. All of our returning athletes combined with some new athletes in the water, help set the stage for another competitive season.”
The Indians have six newcomers looking to add depth as well.
“We are welcoming the experience of Aariyah Hallett to the program. We expect her to make an impact on our sprint freestyle and relay events. Newcomers Marie Hutchinson, Mary Andews and Doga Inac will also help add depth to our program,” Schuette said.
Kaylee Poorman and Teagan Rupp are newcomers to the dive team on the girls side.
However, they do lose three athletes that will be tough to replace, including Brooke Schuette and Megan Carroll who were each district and state qualifiers a season ago. Also gone is district qualifier Maggie Roelfsema.
“We lost Brooke Schuette, who won the 200 and 500 freestyle events for the past four years at our district meet,” said coach Schuette. “She was also a huge clutch relay swimmer and will be difficult to replace. In addition to Megan Carroll, who was just an amazing leader. We are hoping to have some girls step up into both that leadership role and continue to improve in order to fill in the gaps in the pool.”
The boys team returns nine letter winners and three that are back with postseason experience from past seasons.
“We are set to have big improvements across the board. That includes developing new talent and continuing to develop the gentlemen who performed big for us last year. We anticipate all athletes returning to both the district and state meets, in addition to adding some new athletes to that list,” said Schuette of the boys team.
Returning for the boys are Aidan Pena (district qualifier), Isaiah Bourne, Beau Reeder, Tyrese Moore, Andy Scherer (state/district qualifer), Maddux Chamberlin (state/district qualifier), Caden Case (state/district qualifier), Braden Vernot and Benicio Vielma.
“Many returning athletes are coming off of a successful 2020 season,” said Schuette on strengths for the boys in 2020-21. “That being said, we have already begun practicing at a high level and are encouraged that we will continue to see growth throughout the season in all of our athletes. We have several experienced athletes that we anticipate will make huge gains in their respective events. We also anticipate athletes who swam at either the district or state meets to move up into better scoring positions at this year’s meets. Gaining a couple of divers will help score points for the team throughout the year as well.”
Like the girls, the boys are adding six newcomers.
Xander Ankney is one of those who looks to contribute early on. Also joining the squad are Josh Freestone, JT Kutzli, and Benicio Torres. Additionally, Jack Callan and Austyn Schweinhagen are joining the boys dive team.
The Indian boys will have to replace three letter winners as well; the most notable loss being state and district placer, Branden Arredondo.
“With the loss of Branden Arredondo — who won the 50 freestyle at the district meet and finaled in the same event at state — we are looking for some younger swimmers to step up. We need to continue to develop these younger athletes, and anticipate that some of our upperclassmen will really step up,” said Schuette.
They also lost JT Hutchinson (state/district qualifier) and Andon Raker.
Wauseon kicks off the current season Tuesday, Dec. 1 when they host Ayersville at 5:30 p.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010