Benilde-St. Margaret’s junior Malinda Beason is back in the pool as the lone swimmer with state-meet experience as coach Damon Carrison said expectations are about the same as last season with a deeper roster that graduated some experienced talent.
The coach noted the continued progression of Abby Sohm Amelia Backes and Elle Dickey, along with Beason as part of a large junior class to help lead the team from the front along with sophomores Bridget Baker, Quinn Elsenbast and Laura Jennings.
The program added some up-and-coming swimmers including freshman Taylor Williams who will shine in the sprints and fly events along with eighth grader Sydney Holinka who will excel in the free and back events along with freshmen newcomers Hannah Shields and Melanie Chang. Freshmen divers Claire Hennen and Ella Kahler will add potency to the team total score.
Captains for the 2017 season include seniors Lauren Beh, Morgan Williams, Erin Lerch and Abigail Gage and juniors Maya Argenta and Anne Valerius.
Beason and Shieffert anchored the final two legs of the 200-and 400-yard freestyle relays that finished fifth and 11th, respectively at the Class A state meet last November.
The Red Knights had a number of notable results from the section meet where Sohm earned a podium finish, sixth in the 200 free and Schieffert was fourth in the 100 free and fifth in the 50 free.
Hennen was sixth in the diving competition.
As a result of section realignment, St. Louis Park was bumped into Class AA after finishing 12th at the Class A state meet in 2016. They will compete in Section 6AA against powers like Edina and Hopkins.
The Orioles have a number of state-experienced swimmers who are still young including sophomores Hattie Kugler and Frances Bevell, juniors Lexi Lee, Sara Anderson, Claudia Stone and Mazie Lainsbury and freshman Elizabeth Orton.
Kugler was fifth in the 100 breast Class A final in 1:06.97.
Park qualified a relay team in all three events highlighed by Lee, Orton, Anderson and since-graduated Kailey DeLozier with an eighth place finish in the 400 free. The 200 free team of Lee, Lainsbury, Kugler and Anderson remain in tact after a 22nd place finish at state and the 200 medley team is nearly completely back with Stone, Kugler and Bevell in place from a ninth place finish in 1:50.51.
Orton was 11th in the 200 free and 12th in the 500 free, Lee was 14th and Kugler was 23rd in the 200 I.M. and Stone was 18th in the 100 back.
Kugler swims for the Hopkins Swim Club away from the high school season. Her top finish came at the 2017 Speedo Champions Series stop in Iowa City, Iowa where she was sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:09.76. She also swam in the Minnesota Foxjets Long Course Championships at the University of Minnesota in late July finishing 13th in the 200 breast in 2:54.75 and 17th in the 100 breast in 1:20.94.
Bevell and Orton also swim for the Hopkins club. Bevell turned even better finishes at the March meet at the University of Iowa.
She was fourth in the 100 back in 1:06.71 and fifth in the 100 fly in 1:01.52. Meanwhile at the Minnesota championships she was 35th in the 50 fly in 32.05 and 100 fly in 1:11.78. She was 39th in the 200 fly in 2:47.32.
Orton competed in five events at the Last Chance qualifier for the Minnesota Championships, hosted by Minnesota Great Wolf, “All About That Race” meet on July 3-4, highlighted by a 10th place finish in the 200 breast in 3:16.15, 11th place in the 100 free in 1:04.01, 12th in the 200 free in 2:17.60, 14th in the 200 back in 2:37.24 and 17th in the 100 back in 1:16.17.
Follow sports editor Jason Olson on Twitter at @SunSportsJason.