2017 High School Girls Swimming Preview: Taking the Plunge

Fonda-Johnstown’s Emily Miles swims the freestyle during a Foothills Council meet against Gloversville-Mayfield at Gloversville Middle School on Sept. 14, 2016. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)

From youthful teams to on-site construction, there are plenty of challenges ahead for the local girls swim teams this season.

Half of the Gloversville-Mayfield squad consists of first-year varsity swimmers four members of the Amsterdam squad are joining the varsity competition for the first time.

The Fonda-Johnstown swimmers have adjusted to the construction in the pool area at Johnstown High School and were scheduled to swim at Fonda-Fultonville High School. However, construction at Fonda-Fultonville this summer forced a change of plans.

“Due to building projects at both Fonda-Fultonville and Johnstown, the team did not have access to a pool and could only perform strength and conditioning exercises outside,” first-year coach Ken Hoefs said. “The swimmers were very dedicated and worked out three times a week performing exercises such as weighted sled pushes, batting ropes, large tractor tire flips uphill, 120-yard interval sprints, running stadium stairs and plyometric exercises.”

The condition paid off as FoJo swam to 86-77 Foothills Council victory over Hudson Falls/South Glens Falls on Thursday in South Glens Falls.


FoJo lost a pair of key point-scorers from last year’s squad in Cecelia Mowrey and Alayna Gray.

Mowrey was the team’s MVP last season and placed fourth in the 100-yard butterfly and was sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke at the Section II, Division II championships.

Gray, who placed sixth in the 500-yard freestyle and ninth in the 200-yard IM at sectionals, opted not to swim this fall.

However, FoJo has a solid core of swimmers with varsity experience returning to the pool.

Emily Miles, who placed fifth in the 100-yard freestyle and seventh in the 200 freestyle at sectionals, returns for her sixth year on varsity with an eye on moving up on the podium, as does Emma Rizzo who was ninth in the 1-meter diving and 12 in the 50-yard freestyle last year also returns for her sixth varsity season.

The are joined by sectional qualifiers Sophia Frenyea, Julia Norris, Megan O’Connell and Abigail Rizzo.

“We have 16 swimmers total — 13 returning swimmers and eight of the 16 swimmers are sophomores,” Hoefs said. “We are still a young team but almost every swimmer has been swimming since modified and are very dedicated. We are expecting all swimmers to improve their individual times compared to last season. Nine individuals qualified for sectionals last season. Due to the fantastic work ethic of our team, we are expecting to increase the number of individual qualifiers for sectionals into the double digits. FoJo has 16 dual meets this season which is a nine meet increase from last year. this should provide the swimmers plenty of opportunities to qualify for and compete at sectionals.”


The numbers are good, but young, for the Lady Sea Dragons this season.

Coach Mike Harrington will be looking for the new swimmers to gain confidence quickly as Gloversville-Mayfield looks to fill the voids left by the graduation of state-meet qualifier Kylie Cotugno, Taylor Wadsworth, Mikayla Becker and Alex Vincent

“We are coming into a season where we have a lot of new faces on the team,” Harrington said. “Over half of the team is experiencing their first year as a varsity swimmer.”

Returning to the pool for the Lady Sea Dragons are Payton Biasini, Alyssa Henley, Katlyn Rivera, Libby Sturgess-Mansell, Isabelle Willis, maya Rivera, Olivia Coffin, Sheyenne Beach, Nature Conyne, Katelyn Oleszak and Kaylie Sturgess-Mansell.

“The girls are working hard to develop their strokes and know there will be some growing pains along the way,” Harrington said. “This season will provide a lot of experience for our newer swimmers and a chance for our older girls to lead. The team focus is to see just how many girls can qualify for sectionals this year.”

Joining the squad this season are Kayla Blanton, Celia Meher, Simone Hunt, Kyra Baird, Miracle Conyne, Caitlyn Fonda, Sophey Willis, Emily bradt, Maddie St. Pierre and Lauryn Pianelli.


The numbers may be down but the quality is up for the Amsterdam Lady Rams.

Top sprinters Azia Aldi and Tessa Conti return to the pool for the Nancy Spagnola-coached Lady Rams.

Spagnola is looking for Paige Bertuch to reach her potential and be a consistent scorer in the 100-yard breaststroke and backstroke this year and is looking for Julianna Busseno’s hard work in practice to pay off in lowering her times in the 100-yard butterfly.

Versatile swimmer Anastacia Montalvo trained hard in the off season and is expected to make an immediate impact in the Lady Rams lineup.

Elizabeth Banewicz moves to the varsity squad after swimming on the club team, while Melody Valberg and Megan Close move up from the schools modified program. First-year swimmer Morganne Tighe is expected to settle in and improve throughout the season.

Marisha Gennett will help Spagnola this season as an assistant coach.

Girls Swimming Schedule

Monday, September 11

Troy at Fonda-Johnstown

(at Gloversville Middle School), 5 p.m.

Tuesday, September 12

Fonda-Johnstown at Gloversville-Mayfield, 4:30 p.m.

Queensbury at Amsterdam, 5 p.m.

Thursday, September 14

Fonda-Johnstown at Amsterdam, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 19

Hudson Falls-South Glens Falls

at Gloversville-Mayfield, 4:30 p.m.

Fonda-Johnstown at Glens Falls, 5 p.m.

Tuesday, September 26

Amsterdam at Hudson Falls-South Glens Falls, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 28

Fonda-Johnstown at Emma Willard, 4:30 p.m.

Friday, September 29

Fonda-Johnstown at Albany, 4:30 p.m.

Monday, October 2

Fonda-Johnstown at Troy, 5 p.m.

Tuesday, October 3

Amsterdam at Gloversville-Mayfield, 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 4

Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk at Fonda-Johnstown

(at FFCS), 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 5

Holy Names at Fonda-Johnstown, 4:30 p.m.

Friday, October 6

Gloversville-Mayfield at Ravena, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 10

Amsterdam at Fonda-Johnstown (at FFCS), 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 12

Hudson Falls-South Glens Falls at Fonda-Johnstown

(at FFCS), 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 17

Gloversville-Mayfield at Glens Falls, 4:30 p.m.

Fonda-Johnstown at Queensbury, 5 p.m.

Tuesday, October 24

Fonda-Johnstown at Albany Academy, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, November 2

Section II Championships

(diving, Shenendehowa), 4 p.m.

Friday, November 3

Section II Championships

(swim prelims, Shenendehowa), 3 p.m.

Saturday, November 4

Section II Championships

(swim finals, Shenendehowa), 2 p.m.

By Paul Wager

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