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Gila Ridge Hawks
Last year: Sent five swimmers to state and competed in seven events
Top returners: Boys — Westin Lines, sr., 100-meter butterfly, 200 IM; Joseph Salerno, sr., backstroke; Logan Osbourn, soph., distance swimmer, 500 and 200 freestyle; Girls — Emily Gough, soph., 100 and 200 freestyle, distance; Haylee Dahl, jr., freestyle, breaststroke and IM; Lauren Hernandez, jr., butterfly, 200 IM, freestyle
Key newcomers: Boys — Dylan Wilson, fresh., IM, freestyle; Kylie Wellard, fresh., IM, freestyle
Coach Heather LaVin's comments: “We just want to shoot for an amazing regional and hopefully we can come out on top as winners. I just enjoy watching all the swimmers get their personal bests and if they can do that by regionals, that'd be great.”
The lowdown: The Hawks are looking for another successful season this year and it doesn't look like that should be too much of a challenge. Gila Ridge is returning a sizable cast of strong swimmers and has added new talent to the pool as well. While some of the newbies may struggle early in the season, LaVin is confident after a couple of meets they will find their groove. The Hawks still need to improve in their strokes — butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke — but they are a versatile team who should have no problem making an impact this season.
Yuma High Criminals
Last year: Sent a swimmer — Robert Groggett — to Division II state meet.
Top returners: Boys — Robert Groggett, jr., 100-meter backstroke and freestyle; Trae Land, sr., 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly; Girls — Emilee Nitelet, sr., 50 freestyle
Key newcomers: Girls — Michelle Watson, sr., 50 and 100 freestyle
Coach Jon Rochelle's comments: “Last year we didn't win any meets and this year we have a chance of winning and just being competitive. Our numbers are up so much higher (than last season). We're not double, but we're close to doubling. Last year it was mathematically impossible for us to win any meet that we went to. We're still rebuilding, but this is the next big step.”
The lowdown: The Criminals are looking to be getting things back on track, increasing their numbers significantly from last year. Yuma High still needs to see more girls show interest in the team, seeing as the boys team is three times the size. But they are on pace to make an impact in the water this season, especially with the Robert Groggett and Trae Land returning to their roster.
— Capsules compiled by Erin Redmond