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Returning swimmers boost teams chances for repeat titles

The timeless tradition of next swimmer up is taking place again this preseason for Boulder City High School swimming, which comes into the new year needing to replace state champions Mandy Gebhart, Montana Lloyd and Braden Klouse.

Featuring a mixture of state returners and new swimmers ready to step up to the challenge, Eagles head coach Sara Carroll is confident both teams can continue their winning traditions

“The girls should win both regionals and state because of our depth,” Carroll said. “We’re hopeful to bring strong, deep teams to state. The boys should win regionals, but state will be a dogfight. Chaparral and Truckee have strong teams this year.”

Chasing their eighth consecutive 3A state championship this season, the boys bring back plenty of depth from a season ago behind junior A.J. Pouch and seniors Clayton Pendleton and Andre Pappas.

Pouch, who ranks as one of the top swimmers in the 3A classification, placed first at state last season in the 100-yard breaststroke (58.65 seconds) and 200-yard individual medley (1:57.44). Already a three-time individual champion, Pouch this season is aiming to go beyond personal success.

“My goal this season is to get as many guys as we can to go to state,” he said. “Whether it be by motivation, giving them tips or giving pep talks at meets. We could always use another body at state. I want to go to state again and win another title, but I can’t do that without my team.”

Giving the boys a strong supporting cast, Pendleton (fifth-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle and third-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle) and Pappas (seventh in 50-yard freestyle) return with sophomore Benson Daml (eighth in 500-yard freestyle) after making state meet appearances last season.

Also expected to contribute heavily for the boys are senior Robbie Leavitt, junior Chandler Larson, sophomores Ladd Cox and Ty Pendleton and freshmen Charlie Larson, Ethan Porter, Joseph Purdy and Seth Woodbury.

Bringing back more of an experienced core, the Lady Eagles are chasing their sixth consecutive 3A state championship behind juniors Rose Pouch, Annike Freiburger and Aimee Garcia and sophomore Quinci Thomas, who are ready to become individual champions.

“We definitely have to pick it up this year with the seniors gone,” Rose Pouch said. “We lost a lot of talented people, but we have just as much skill and I know we can get this team to win state again.”

Competing in two events last season, Rose Pouch finished second at state in the 100-yard butterfly (59:64) and 200-yard freestyle (1:56.60), while Freiburger (500-yard freestyle) and Garcia (100-yard breaststroke) finished as state runners-up last season.

Freiburger and Garcia also came in third at state in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley, respectively.

Looking to build on their freshman success, Thomas placed third at state in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard freestyle, while sophomore Audrey Selinger finished fourth in the 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard freestyle.

Senior Gwynn Miller (fifth in 200-yard freestyle and seventh in 100-yard freestyle), junior Ashleigh Wood (sixth in 100-yard freestyle and seventh in 50-yard freestyle) and sophomores Tegan Pappas (eighth in 50-yard freestyle) and Megan Johnson (fifth in 500-yard freestyle) also return with state experience.

Hoping for another championship season, both programs will start their season Saturday in a relay meet at Heritage Park.

Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.

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