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The Collins and Shelby County swim teams dive into their seasons Saturday in a meet at Elizabethtown.
Below is a quick look at the Titans and Rockets.
The Titans, who have finished third in Region 3 each of the past two seasons, will try to improve upon that this winter.
They will be led by senior Coy Romine, junior Paulo Ribenboim and sophomore Paul Cozzens, who were all key contributors last season, as well as senior Michael Troutman, who returns after missing his junior season.
Romine and Ribenboim are the team captains.
Romine was sixth in the 200-yard individual medley and eighth in the 100 breaststroke at the region meet last season. He was also a member of the Titans’ 200- and 400- freestyle relay teams that advanced to the State meet (they finished 32nd and 30th, respectively).
Ribenboim finished third in the region in the 200-yard freestyle and fifth in the 100 butterfly last year and was also a member of the Titans’ state-qualifying relay teams in the 200 and 400 frees last season. However, he missed the State meet after cutting his foot the day before preliminaries began.
Cozzens, meanwhile, finished fourth at the region meet in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke and was also on the state-qualifying 200 and 400 free relay teams. He went on to finish 27th at State in the 100 breast.
Troutman finished eighth at State in the 50-yard freestyle and 14th in the 100 free as a sophomore before missing last season.
“He has a shot to go to state in the fifty and one hundred freestyle and be a finalist,” Coach J.P. LaVertu said.
Other key returnees are senior Phillip Burkhardt, junior Caleb McIntosh and a trio of sophomores – Chase Poff, Conner Clare and Sammy Hood – and seventh-grader Webb Bates. McIntosh and the three sophs teamed up for a ninth-place finish in the 200 medley relay at region last season. Poff was 10th in the 100 free. Eighth-grader Jackson Stewart is a newcomer whom LaVertu expects to contribute.
“The boys’ relays and several of the swimmers mentioned all have chances to make the state meet this year,” LaVertu said. “I want to see continued improvements out of them through the season.”
The Titans, who were seventh at region last season, fifth in 2012 and sixth in 2011, will try for another top-seven finish this winter. “The girls have an excellent core, and I expect they will continue to get better each meet,” LaVertu said.
Collins will be led by juniors Alex Moon and sophomore Ali Fort, the team’s captains.
Moon advanced to the State meet as a freshman, when she finished fifth in the 100 backstroke and ninth in the 100 freestyle at region, before missing last season because of an injury.
“I am so happy she is back to good health and ready to swim this season,” LaVertu said.
Fort finished 13th – fifth in the consolation final – in the 100 backstroke at State after finishing second in that event, and fourth in the 100 free, at region last season.
“I look forward to seeing her compete at a high level again this season,” LaVertu said.
Other key contributors should be junior Ashley Quinn, sophomores Lilly Sanchez (16th in the 100 breaststroke at region last season) and Hailey LaMar, freshmen Samantha Harris and Abby Lanter and seventh-grader Tyler Dean. Dean, who last season was 13th in the 100 backstroke and a member of the Titans’ seventh-place 200 medley relay team at the region, is swimming with a cast because of a broken arm.
The Rockets, who took 10th at region last season, will look to better that this winter. “The Shelby County boys’ team is as deep and talented as they have been in the last three years,” LaVertu said.
The Rockets will be led by senior Michael Gilpatrick and junior Hunter Moore, the team’s captains. Moore was 12th in the 200 freestyle and 15th in the 100 free last season at the region meet.
Other key contributors will be senior James Wells, junior Joshua Claypool, freshmen Jacob Luallen and David Jacobs, eighth-grader Sean Gilpatrick and seventh-grader Logan Kessinger.
Luallen was seventh in the 100 backstroke and 10th in the 100 butterfly at region last season, and Kessinger finished eighth in the 200 IM and 10th in the 500 freestyle.
“This is the largest Shelby County boys’ team I have had in my five years coaching here, I look forward to their development,” LaVertu said.
The Rockets, who were 10th at region last season, have an extremely youthful roster after losing all-state performer Collin Kessinger to graduation. They will be led by senior co-captain Hailey Coffey, who swam as an eighth-grader, freshman and sophomore and returns after taking off last season.
“I look for her to be both a leader in, and out, of the water,” LaVertu said.
Coffey, junior co-captain Sara Hager, freshman Shelby Moore, seventh-grader Hannah Hager and freshman newcomer Megan Banks will comprise a bulk of the Rockets’ relays.
“The Shelby County girls’ team is picking up the numbers, but they are still young,” LaVertu said. “I look forward to their development and envision them to have an excellent year.”
Eighth-grader Connor Foster, who trains and swims with the Titans and Rockets, will try to improve on a season in which she finished eighth in the 100 breaststroke at region.
“Overall, I want my kids and parents to know we are one team,” LaVertu said. “I don't care what school the kids attend, I don't care what side of the county they live on, I want them to support one another and help and compete against each other in a positive way. I take pride in having the only team that is still together, even though they technically swim for their school, we are one team.”
Luke Daugherty, Trey Davis, Webb Bates, Bryan Bianco, Devin Henderson, Ethan Howell, Mathew Munsterman, Jackson Stewart, Connor Clare, Paul Cozzens, Sammy Hood, Chase Poff, Caleb McIntosh, Cameron Rannells, Paulo Ribenboim, Phillip Burkhardt, Coy Romine, Michael Troutman.
Kylie Higgins, Abby Jacobs, Lily Vest, Jenna Henderson, Grace Melton, Mary Grace Vest, Jessica Buckler, Tyler Dean, Sierra Dischinger, Emma Lanter, Sammy Monarch, Sarah Siever, Emma Wakeman, Macy Colebank, Samantha Harris, Abby Lanter, Ali Fort, Hailey LaMar, Ashley Quinn, Katelyn Rice, Lilly Sanchez, Kaden Schooler, Tristen Schooler, Arden Groves, Alex Moon.
Evan Blanthorn, Jordan Burke, Caleb Byrnside, Dustin Clausen, Joshua Claypool, Jacob Durr, Paul Gayle, Michael Gilpatrick, Sean Gilpatrick, David Jacobs, Dakota Kaler, Logan Kessinger, Jacob Luallen, Gavin Martion, Keegan Martion, Hunter Moore, Steven Waurio, James Wells.
Megan Banks, Erin Bentley, Madison Brewer, Taylor Clausen, Hailey Coffey, Olivia Coffey, Hannah Hager, Sara Hager, Lily Husband, Hannah Jacobs, Shelby Moore, Jodi Orange, Emma Spurlock, Kara Thompson.
Saturday – Elizabethtown Invitational at Fort Knox; Nov. 22 – vs. Christian Academy of Louisville & Male at University of Louisville’s Ralph Wright Natatorium; Nov. 26 – vs. North Oldham, Oldham County and South Oldham at Family Activity Center; Dec. 7 – Holiday Classic at FAC; Dec. 14 - Woodford County Invitational at Versailles; Dec. 18 – Franklin County, Western Hills, Frankfort & Scott County at FAC; Jan. 8 – Woodford County at Versailles; Jan. 18 – Greenwave Invitational at Fort Knox; Jan. 22 – Nelson County, Thomas Nelson, Boyle County & Danville at FAC; Feb. 1 – Winter Classic at FAC; Feb. 14-15 - Region 3 meet at Versailles; Feb. 28-March 1 - State meet at UofL’s Wright Natatorium.