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State meet vets setting tone for Dukes

Addison Trail/Willowbrook has its deepest team ever

The two most important swim meets of the season are the sectionals to determine which swimmers advance to state, and the state meet itself. Yet the regular season is crucial for building endurance, and swimmers from York and the Addison Trail/Willowbrook co-op hope to remain competitive as the regular season continues to unfold.


Coach: Sarah Pauly

Top swimmers:

Hannah Nolte, sr., 100 backstroke, 200 IM, relays

Paula Nolte, so., 100 breaststroke, 200 IM, medley relay

Perri Brinkmeier, sr., 100 backstroke, relays

Jessica Woolfe, jr., freestyle, relays

Maggie Schlecht, so., freestyle, relays

Outlook: Four state qualifying swimmers return for the Dukes, including three swimmers from the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Seniors Perri Brinkmeier and Hannah Nolte and junior Jessica Woolfe will hope to improve upon the 25th place finish of that relay without senior Shannon Sullivan. Sophomore Maggie Schlecht has been Sullivan’s replacement in that relay so far and the foursome placed third at the York Invite on Saturday.

Individually, Paula Nolte is the only returning state qualifier. The sophomore just made the state cut in the 100-yard breaststroke in her freshman season to get a taste of what state is like. In addition to competing in the breaststroke, she is a key part of the medley relay.

The Dukes were runner-up to St. Ignatius at the nine-team York Invite on Saturday. Paula Nolte was York’s only winner by touching the wall first in the 100 breaststroke. Hannah Nolte was just ahead of Paula to take second in the 200 individual medley and Woolfe was second in the 50 freestyle. The 200 medley relay of Woolfe, both Noltes and Sam Marlott was second, as well.

Addison Trail/Willowbrook co-op

Coach: Paul Anderson

Top swimmers:

Molly Kuenstler, sr., 50 free, 100 free, relays

Kelly McNamara, jr., 100 fly, relays

Gabriella Morrone, jr., 100 breaststroke, relays

Meghan Koterba, so., 200 free, 500 free, relays

Annalise Morrone, fr., 100 breaststroke, relays

Molly Hill, jr., 100 backstroke, relays

Outlook: The District 88 co-op team had two entries in the state finals in 2012 and is hoping for more this year.

Four of the five girls that swam at state last year are back, including Kelly McNamara, who was sixth in the 100-yard butterfly.

“Her goal is to be a state champ so that’s what we’re going for,” coach Paul Anderson said. “It’s obviously a lofty one.”

In addition to McNamara, Anderson is hoping the team can make event finals in two relays: the 200-yard freestyle relay and the medley relay. Last year the 200 freestyle relay placed 12th and has three swimmers back as junior Gabriella Morrone and senior Molly Kuenstler return with McNamara.

Last year the team qualified the 400 freestyle relay to state, but with freshman breaststroker Annalise Morrone, Gabriella’s sister and a “stud” according to Anderson, joining the team Anderson thinks the medley relay could be very strong this season.

Kuenstler, who has qualified for nine state events in her career, would swim the freestyle leg of the medley relay while McNamara gives the team an elite butterfly swimmer and junior Molly Hill would take the backstroke.

“We’re definitely deeper than we’ve ever been,” Anderson said. “It’s a really good year for us.”

Last year the co-op tied for the West Suburban Gold title, winning the regular season and finishing second in the conference meet. Without any divers it’s an uphill climb at the conference meet and Anderson is making sure the focus is to be tapered and rested for state and not sooner.

“To be rested and swim fast at state is the goal,” Anderson said.

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