Despite competing in the best conference in the state, Janesville Craig and the Janesville Parker/Evansville co-op team hope to make a splash heading into the 2019 girls swim season.

Craig hosts Beloit Memorial on Friday to begin the Big Eight Conference season, while Parker/Evansville travels to Verona.

The Cougars, under second-year coach Charlotte Davies, have good numbers with 35 girls on the roster. A talented freshman class should fit in well with upperclassmen that have two and three years of varsity experience.

“The team has been looking really good in the water the past few weeks getting ready to start meets,” Davies said. “I am very impressed with the passion and determination the girls have been putting in for the beginning of this season.”

Seniors Grace Kubala and Gabby Metcalf, along with junior Hanna Albrecht, are captains of the team. Kubala and Metcalf both specialize in breaststroke, while Albrecht can swim breaststroke and the individual medley.

Sophomore Natalie Blank is penciled in for distance freestyle events, while senior Sammi Eaton will be used in the sprint freestyle events. Sophomore Kadence Woods is also expected to contribute in freestyle.

Junior Sydney Guenther can swim backstroke, butterfly and freestyle, while junior Jilly May is expected to provide depth in the backstroke and butterfly.

The freshmen will be led by Ally Donagan in IM and freestyle, Katarina Dries in freestyle and backstroke and Maya Van Berkum in freestyle.

“We’re a young team that is looking to make an impact,” Davies said. “I am excited to see where this team will go over the season, and the growth this group of girls will have as swimmers and as a Cougar family.”

Parker has battled numbers problems in the past, but the Vikings have 34 swimmers out this year. Evansville swimmers account for 12 of the 34.

The Vikings have a strong senior class. Seniors Maggie Barnes, Katelyn Becker, Olivia Bergum, Kailey Frame, Olivia Rainiero and Sarah Parker give the Vikings plenty of options in the freestyle events.

Senior Kaiya Hutter competes in the IM, while senior Austyn Fischer is a top backstroke swimmer.

Juniors Kailee Sitter (freestyle and butterfly) and Megan Christens (backstroke) provide depth in a number of events, as do sophomores Tadyn McCann (backstroke and freestyle) and Megan Klinger (breaststroke).

Freshman Jessenya Arambula-Etchell competes in distance freestyle and butterfly, while Paige Letcher adds depth in breaststroke.

“Some of our goals this year are to get school records in our relays,” Parker coach Derek Schneider said. “From where we were at last year, the 200 free and 400 free relays are the closest to doing that with all the girls on those relays returning.

“And this week, we came up with four core covenants as a team. The four traits that the girls decided that we want to try to embody as a team are mental toughness, attitude, respect, and communication. We want to represent those four traits everywhere including practice, meets, school and out in public.”

Around the areaArea-wise, Whitewater returns a strong nucleus from last year’s team that finished eighth in the WIAA Division 2 state meet.

Heading the list is Ella Houwers. The junior is the defending state champion in the 100 breaststroke and was third in the 200 individual medley. Teammate and senior Brianna Zimdars was eighth in the 500 freestyle.

Also in Division 2, Edgerton’s Gaby de Moya-Cotter returns for her senior season after finishing ninth at the state meet in the 100 butterfly.

In Division 1, Milton senior Danielle Cramer hopes to improve upon her fifth-place finish in the 100 backstroke.