STOW: The Stow-Munroe Falls High School boys and girls swim and dive teams aren’t looking to just tread water after last year’s competitive seasons.
Second-year head coach Dan Reese has big expectations for the teams, which he said each has a strong group of upperclassmen swimmers and a promising large pool of freshmen.
“We have a great group of seniors on both teams – a lot of experience,” Reese said. “Their experience should really help us have a great season. I think we compete for division titles for both the boys and girls this year.”
The boys team is hoping to build on the success of last season, when it went 5-0 in Northeast Ohio Conference River Division dual meets to share the division title with North Royalton.
“Our boys team is definitely a work in progress, but they’re getting better every day,” Reese said.
Team captains Cody Vantrease and Justin Faluotico lead the way after both qualifying for the Ohio High School Athletic Association district championships as juniors last season.
Vantrease finished seventh at districts in the 200-yard freestyle and 11th in the 100 freestyle.
“Cody has been a leader for us as far as talent,” Reese said. “I think this is his year.”
Faluotico is looking to continue his success from last year, when he finished 28th at districts in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:54.62, while also enjoying his last season with the close-knit team.
“I’m looking to have fun,” he said.
Reese also expects sophomores Isaac Lumley and Travis Delker and juniors Shane Riddle, Alex Cremer and Corey Dyer to make major contributions to the boys team.
“It’s going to be a tough season, but I’m really excited for us,” Vantrease said.
The girls team brings back all its top scorers from last season after sending seven swimmers to the district championships.
“We were really happy with how we did last year and our team is even better this year,” said girls team co-captain senior Maddie Dyer.
This season, Reese thinks the girls should compete for the division title while aiming to set new team records.
“We’re trying to send people to states this year,” added girls team co-captain senior Tori McCauley.
All four swimmers from last season’s 400 freestyle relay team that finished ninth at districts – McCauley, senior Lindsey Adkins and juniors Kelsey Wenk and Kelly Vantrease – are back for another year.
Seniors Ainsley Wilbur and Jenni Heid also are coming off strong performances last season and expected to be key parts of the girls team.
Reese is joined by assistant coaches Mike Wilhelm, a former Stow swimmer, and Warren Schneider, who has helped coach the team since 2005.
The divers – four girls and two boys -- are coached by Kristin Dodson.
The Stow teams kick off their dual meet season with non-divisional match up against an always-tough Hudson swim team on Dec. 3 in Hudson, followed by the division opener Dec. 6 at North Royalton.
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