By Chris Chaney
A reloaded girls’ team and a deeper diving squad on the boys’ side have the Milford Eagles’ swimming teams looking for big things over the course of the winter sports season.
“I have a lot of returners coming back,” head coach Sarah Kleinfelter said. “On the girls’ side, I only lost one senior and on the boys’ side I lost three (to graduation) and another because he moved, so the boys’ side going to have a little bit of a rougher go this year.”
Beginning with the girls’ team, a returning core that made some noise in the postseason tournament is looking to take the next step to get up to state.
“I’ve got some really strong senior girls that I think are going to do some really great things this year,” Kleinfelter said. “Carolyn Storch will race the 100 backstroke and we noticed a difference last year, so we’re going to see what we can do to get her on to state.
“Haley Kennedy in butterfly has done a lot of good things for us as well.”
Kleinfelter said that she has an influx of freshmen who can come in and contribute right away, especially filling in the relay holes vacated by those who have graduated out of the program.
For the boys, as Kleinfelter said, graduating four seniors and losing another have depleted the ranks, but the feeder club has brought more onto the varsity roster as well as a ground swell of support for the diving team.
“The thing that hurt us most (last year) on the boys’ side was not having many male divers,” Kleinfelter said. “We actually have four male divers this year and some of them are really good, that should help us pull up even or ahead.
“There were meets last year that we lost because we didn’t have the male divers and now we have them, so I think we’re going to be winning a lot more meets because of it.”
Aside from the points Kleinfelter sees her team earning on the boards, her returning swimmers should keep the team competitive with some of the better teams in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference.
“I have Alex Hahn who is my breaststroker and swims butterfly for us,” she said. “He just missed qualifying for districts last year in the butterfly, so we’re going to try to get him there as a full qualifier this year.
“Senior Josh Fritz was my 500 freestyler, but we’ve moved him down to 200 and I think that he’s going to find a lot more success in that event as opposed to the 500.”
As for preseason goals for both teams, Kleinfelter wasn’t shy about what she wants to accomplish.
“Goal-wise, we want to win the ECC,” the coach said. “We were so close last year, especially on the boys’ side.”
The boys’ game in fifth place last season and with the new divers, Kleinfelter believes that her team can shorten the gap between themselves and the Turpin’s, Kings’ and Anderson’s of the world.
“Kings is always tough, always,” Kleinfelter said. “I think Turpin is going to be tough. On the girls’ side they lost a lot to graduation, but they have so many club swimmers that there is always somebody to step in and fill in those gaps. Anderson has always been a tough team for us.
“As of now, I think those three are our biggest competition as far as the conference goes.”
The Aqua Eagles will get their season underway on Dec. 3 when they host Hamilton at the Milford Natatorium.