BROOKVILLE — With a mix of experience and newcomers on his 26-athlete roster, Brookville swimming and diving head coach Mike Wonderling likes how his team has worked so far in the early going.
He has 11 boys and 15 girls with four seniors — Rory Hoffman, Mark Fitzgerald and Kyle Gotwald, and the lone senior girl Emily Lindermuth — with the season opening at home Dec. 15 against Marion Center.
“We have a strong group of returning swimmers,” Wonderling said. “In addition to the seniors, we have swimmers who will be asked to swim events that they may not have swum much last year. I am really impressed with their work ethic and cant wait to see the results of it.”
The top returning placewinners are junior Thad Johnson and sophomore Donavan Hoffman. At the District 9 Championships, he finished fourth in the 200-yard individual medley and fifth in the 100 breaststroke. Hoffman was sixth in the breaststroke.
“Thad is a versatile swimmer who will be asked to swim many different events this year. He has set some tough goals for him to achieve, but with his work ethic I believe it is possible for him to reach them,” Wonderling said. “Donavan placed in breaststroke at the district meet last year. He will continue to improve his breaststroke and will also most likely swim the IM. The boys train in the same lane and they push each other constantly. I look forward to seeing these two being very successful this year.”
Those two led the Raiders to a 3-8 finish in dual meets, including the senior trio. Fitzgerald was seventh in the 100 backstroke while Gotwald, Johnson, Hoffman and Fitzgerald formed the district entries in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.
Sophomore Luc Doolittle finished eighth in the 500 freestyle. Senior Rory Hoffman swam in the breaststroke at districts.
While the boys lost a few in number from last year, the girls are about the same. Lindermuth is the lone senior on the Lady Raiders’ roster. She was eighth in the 100 freestyle at districts and swam on both the district entries on the 200 and 400 freestyle relays with junior returners Cheyanne Gotwald in the 200 and Brynn Afton in the 400.
Afton and sophomore Rilee Myers swam on the 200 medley relay.
Seven new swimmers are on the Lady Raiders’ roster.
“The new swimmers have varying backgrounds from one who swam in the YMCA system for many years to first year of competition,” Wonderling said. “These girls are constantly improving and I am looking forward to them having a positive impact on our team.
“This year’s girls’ team definitely has more options to complete the lineup. The core returning swimmers have big shoes to fill and I am very confident that they will do well. With the number of first-year swimmers being so large it will make setting a line-up more difficult.”
Wonderling has some recent Brookville graduates working as assistant coaches with Jaren Ananea, and Christen and Cassie Confer. Stephanie Cable returns as the diving coach and at least at the outset, she has at least one diver with first-year junior Dani MacBeth.
“She has a strong gymnastics background and is improving with each practice,” Wonderling said. “She will compete well with the girls in our district.”
He’s looking forward to the season to get going. The Marion Center opener is the only event until January.
“Our team has been working hard for the past two weeks trying to get ready for our first meet. We open against Marion Center and it should be a very competitive meet for us,” Wonderling said. “We match up against them well. The kids know this and it has been pushing them at practice. The swimmers are improving every day and I look forward to see them in our first meet.”
Seniors: Kyle Gotwald, Mark Fitzgerald, Rory Hoffman
Juniors: Aaron Briggs, Justin Barrett, Ashton Orner, Thad Johnson, Ethan Brentham
Sophomores: Luc Doolittle, Blake Saunders, Donavan Hoffman
Seniors: Emily Lindermuth
Juniors: Brynn Afton, Cheyanne Gotwald, Dani MacBeth
Sophomores: Rilee Myers, Danielle Maring, Sydney Barto, Hannah Cline, Anna Tetro, Kara Foster
Freshmen: Aleah Ames, Taylor Hetrick, Abi Miller, Emma Fiscus, Audrey Park.
2-at Oil City
6-at Clearfield Invitational, 11 a.m.
1-at St. Marys
2-District 9 Diving Championships, St. Marys
9-District 9 Swimming Championships, St. Marys
— Meets begin at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted