TAMPA — Time to take a dip in the pool. As the Hillsborough County swimming and diving season opens, we take a look at 12 interesting facts about the upcoming season, including the top returning swimmers, best relay teams and individuals on the verge of a breakout season. Come join us. The water’s warm.
1. Robinson junior John Nolte just might be the best sprinter in Hillsborough County. Nolte, a district and region champ in both the 50 free and 100 free, also placed in the top 10 in both events at the 2A state meet. He finished eighth in the 50 and ninth in the 100.
2. Three members of Holy Names’ state champion 200 free relay team return: junior Tori Litschgi, sophomore Clare Fleming and freshman Konner Brewer. Mary Green, part of the Jags’ school-record setting 400 free relay team, will complete the team. Scary thing is: Green is the only senior of the bunch.
3. Given what he has already accomplished, it's hard to believe Jesuit’s Chris Swanson is still around, but he’s back for his senior season. Swanson, last year’s Hillsborough County boys swimmer of the year, finished fourth in the 500 free and fifth in the 200 free at the 2A state meet and surely will compete for state gold in both events.
4. Speaking of gold, Tampa Prep’s Rebecca Werdine needs it to complete her medal collection from last season. Werdine, a senior, placed second in the 50 free and third in the 100 free in the Class A state meet.
5. Three of the four members of the county’s top two 400 free girls relay teams return. At Plant, Emily Clifford, Tara McGowan and Elle Munns are back for the 11th-place Class 3A team, and Sarah Neely, Amy Taylor and Barbara Caraballo are back for the 12th-place Wolves.
6. Wharton senior Danielle Albright placed in the top 20 in four events at the summer YMCA nationals, including the fourth-fastest 200 free time in the meet in the consolation final.
7. Tampa Prep super soph Rasmus Skjaerpe will look to improve on a 16th-place state finish in the 200 individual medley.
8. Spoto senior Georgie Graves, a distance swimmer by trade, is aiming to compete for a top-five state finish in the 100 free and 100 fly this season.
9. Jesuit senior Nick Dwyer, a region finalist who swam with an injured back, is healthy and stronger than ever.
10. Steinbrenner senior Georgi Meyer returns as the county’s top diver after a seventh-place Class A state meet finish.
11. Berkeley Prep has three state-caliber female divers. Freshman Hannah Everson-Sagi was a district champ and placed 11th at the Class A meet, while eighth-grader Stephanie Punzak was 17th and sophomore Nikki Potts placed 22nd.
12. Look for Strawberry Crest sophomore Cole Wisecarver to make a name for himself this fall. Wisecarver competed in junior nationals this summer in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly.
Boys teams to watch
Jesuit: The Tigers placed fourth at the 2A meet last year. They lost some key seniors, but can repeat a top-five finish.
Tampa Prep: The Terrapins are loaded with talent and aiming for a top-five team finish in Class A.
Plant: Panthers were somewhat of a surprise last season, but won’t sneak up on anyone any longer.
Berkeley Prep: Defending region and district champion Bucs are young, talented and deep with 27 swimmers.
Newsome: Wolves returns plenty from a team poised for a top-15 3A state finish.
Hillsborough: A 14th-place 2A state finish was paced by great relay teams, which will have to be rebuilt.
Girls teams to watch
Holy Names: Most of the point scorers return from a team that placed sixth at state last year.
Tampa Prep: Back-to-back district champ is stacked, going for second straight region title and a top-five showing at state.
Plant: No need to reload for Panthers, who have several diverse swimmers returning from a 16th-place finish in 3A meet.
Newsome: Plenty of returning pieces from a squad that finished 15th in 3A.
Wharton: Wildcats have established themselves as a postseason regular.
Sickles: Gryphons will have to rebuild a bit, but always have great swimmers coming up.
Sept. 10: City Relays at Bobby Hicks Pool (4120 W Mango St., South Tampa), 9 a.m.
Oct. 12: Western Conference Diving Meet at Copeland Pool (11001 N 15th St., Tampa), 3 p.m.
Oct. 15: Western Conference Swim Meet at Bobby Hicks Pool (4120 W Mango St., South Tampa), 7 a.m.
Oct. 24-29: District meets, various sites
Nov. 3-5: Region meets, various sites
Nov. 10: Class 3A state meet, Central Florida YMCA Aquatic Center (8422 International Drive, Orlando)
Nov. 11: Class A state meet
Nov. 12: Class 2A state meet