WATERTOWN — Watertown Cyclones junior Sarah Kilburn loved her time at last year’s state tournament, but she’d like a little more company.
The Cyclones are gearing up for the Frontier League season where they’re seeking their 10th straight “A” Division crown. Watertown is also looking to get more swimmers back to the state meet after Kilburn was the only qualifier in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle relays.
“Last year was definitely more stressful than the year before with going alone and I think it’s just better with teammates there with you,” said Kilburn who is looking to make a third straight trip to the state meet.
However, many of her teammates helped her out along the way to states.
“We were all really happy for her and we all supported her,” junior Emily Alvarado said. “We all went to the practices with her just to keep her going.”
The big event that the Cyclones are keying on is the 200 freestyle relay where many of the fastest swimmers compete. Watertown is in a tough Class B division in Section 3 that is occupied by traditional Central New York powers Jamesville-DeWitt, Syracuse Christian Brothers Academy and New Hartford.
The Cyclones team of Kilburn, Imani Torres, McKenzie Way and Emily Alvarado finished third with a time of one minute, 42.61 seconds. Watertown missed out on qualifying for the states in that event as they did in 2017.
“The girls were crushed,” Longtime Cyclones coach Lori Peters said. “They worked so hard and came so far to just missing qualifying by tenths of seconds.”
Watertown returns all four swimmers on that relay, but Peters said those spots will be up for grabs. Each swim matters whether it’s at a meet or in practice.
“You always have to work hard and train your butt off,” Way said. “It’s very competitive because there’s a lot of us that are fast.”
With 30 swimmers on the team, Peters can tinker with the lineup to get the fastest combination.
“She’s going to switch (the lineup) the whole year,” Way said.
Watertown’s talent pool keeps growing as the YMCA Blue Sharks program keeps stocking the team with young swimmers. That talent has helped the team sustain a long period of league and sectional success.
There are plenty of family ties in the program as Alvarado is looking to make the states again after qualifying as part of the 200 freestyle relay with her older sister, Emily, and Kilburn. Way is trying to follow in the footsteps of her brothers, Caleb and Connor, in making the state meet.
“My sister and I got to experience going to states together, so I definitely want to go back,” Alvarado said.
Every second counts on relays and can make the difference in qualifying for the state meet. Swimmers are already working on shaving off those vital seconds.
“We’ve been working on relay exchanges a lot,” Kilburn said. “We do that so we get that down and we work on dry land to stay in shape.”
The team has also been seeking out the best events possible. The Cyclones will go to Glens Falls, where Peters’ brother Kevin Crossman is coach, to take part in the Glens Falls Invitational and takes on New Hartford in a nonleague meet.
“I’m a firm believer of if you swim against better competition, you only get better,” Peters said.
Outlook: Watertown is still the team to beat and is looking to bring its 200-meter freestyle relay team back states. Sarah Kilburn went to states as an individual for the Cyclones. South Jefferson is the best of the rest of the pack and bring back all-stars Emma Purvis, Lauren Covey, Julia Garvin and Laura Zehr. Carthage showed improvement last season and bring back Nadia Garcia-Martinez. Indian River is looking to get back in the win column and has diver Brenlee Dingman.
Coach: Nancy Mushtare (14th year)
2018 record: 3-10, 3-8
Roster: Caroline Culbreth (Sr.), Samantha Laursen-Carr (Sr.), Haley Ramage (Sr.), Jacqueline Renaud (Sr.), Kelsey Waite (Sr.), Larissa Wiltse (Sr.), Moira Kelley (Jr.), Danielle LaCroix (Jr.), Chloe Paquette (Jr.), Amber Spence (Jr.), Kylie Thomas (Jr.), Annabelle Workman (Jr.), Kadince Bach (So.), Mylee Blasier (So.), Hannah Cooley (So.), Ashley Favero (So.), Alyson Gill (So.), Trinity Lawrence (So.), Maria MacAlister (So.), Anna Ramage (So.), Britney Sevenish (So.), Alexandria Stewart (So.), Aubrey Stewart (So.), Kayla Tabolt (So.), Grayce Ulrich (So.), Fiona Walker (So.), Annalee Williams (So.), Makayla Williams (So.), Samanatha Carter (Fr.), Alyssa Forney (Fr.), Kaylyn Scott (Fr.).
Indian River Warriors
Coach: Alan Baker (18th year)
2018 record: 0-11, 0-10
Roster: Paige Bleam (Sr.), Brenlee Dingman (Sr.), Amelia McCrum (Sr.), Kayleigh Ronas (Sr.), Macenna Shippee (Sr.), Makayla Toutant (Sr.), Tori Wilcox (Sr.), Madelyn Countryman (Jr.), Cheyenne Dodds (Jr.), Sierra Dodds (Jr.), Madison McCranie (Jr.), Payton Smith (Jr.), Shatyana Angulo (So.), Marissa Jones (So.), Jade Mayton (So.), Mackenzie Moore (So.), Liberty Severs (So.), Alora Smith (So.), Alexandria Stewart (So.), Aubrey Stewart (So.), Rosanna Torrez (So.), Kyra Walters (So.), Marra Young (So.).
South Jefferson Spartans
Coach: Pat Conners (2nd year)
2018 record: 7-4, 6-4
Roster: Morgan Burt (Sr.), Elia Washburn (Sr.), Alaina Conners (Jr.), Lauren Covey (Jr.), Elyssa Gillette (Jr.), Mikayla Matteson (Jr.), Lillie-Ann Olley (Jr.), Jaleah Vason (Jr.), Alexa Broadhurst (So.), Julia Garvin (So.), Carley Hughes (So.), Abigail Keeney (So.), Romi LaClair (So.), Rachel Place (So.), Emma Purvis (So.), Laura Zehr (So.), Rory Bunker (Fr.), Ava Burns (7th).
General Brown swimmer: Aurora Jarvie (Fr.)
Coach: Lori Peters (26th year)
2018 record: 10-0, 9-0
Roster: Mackenzie Jewett (Sr.), Gwyneth Matthews (Sr.), Alyson McKinney (Sr.), Asia Rutherford (Sr.), Imani Torres (Sr.), Anastasia Towsley (Sr.), Emily Alvarado (Jr.), Sarah Kilburn (Jr.), Delanie Miller (Jr.), Jenna Powell (Jr.), McKenzie Way (Jr.), Anmolika Bolla (So.), Nina Colello (So.), Heaven DeJesus (So), Jillian Draper (So.), Caitlyn Gingery-Chavez (So.), Kayza Limehouse (So.), Loise Pador (So.), Julia Urf (So.), Hailee Wilson (So.), Madison Adderley (Fr.), Lillian Kimball (Fr.), Morgin Richards (Fr.), Melaina Sanchez (Fr.), Adelaide Weir (Fr.), Kendra Zeneski (Fr.), Jasmine Ferguson (8th), Lillian Johnson (8th), Mallory Peters (8th).
Outlook: Lowville has plenty of young swimmers who are very talented. Meredith Lovenduski is looking to push for a spot in state competition. Beaver River added a handful of freshman talent to a team that tied for second in the division last season. South Lewis boasts the Hoffman sisters, Amelia and Madelyn, as they try to challenge Lowville in the division. Thousand Islands has a small roster and will need many of their swimmers to cover multiple events.
Beaver River Beavers
Coach: Ann Davis (33rd year)
2018 record: 5-5
Roster: Kaitlyn Burns (Sr.), Allyson Lyndaker (Sr.), Natalie Monnat (Sr.), Kaia Schneider (Sr.), Alexis LaBrake (Jr.), Emily Pelo (Jr.), Allison Stanford (Jr.), Emma Dicob (So.), Kendra Roggie (So.), Marissa Zehr (So.), Ella Barker (Fr.), Desiree Cheney (Fr.), Kameron Smith (Fr.), Miriam Watkins (Fr.), Emma Waugh (Fr.), Maddy Wolff (Fr.).
Lowville Red Raiders
Coach: Noelle Haney (2nd year)
2018 record: 9-1
Roster: Alyssa Brower (Sr.), Elizabeth Compo (Sr.), Abygayl Lee (Sr.), Peyton Myers (Sr.), Alexia Wilmot (Sr.), Faith Froehlich (So.), Linnea Haney (So.), Meredith Lovenduski (So.), Grace Myers (So.), Sofie Reitema (So.), Emma Rowsam (So.), Kiley Zicari (So.), Taylor Zubrzycki (So.), Delaney Bergen (Fr.), Olivia King (Fr.), Shelby Law (Fr.), Kyra Reali (Fr.).
South Lewis Falcons
Coach: Neil Austin (20th year)
2018 record: 6-6-1, 5-5-0
Roster: Brooklyn Sullivan (Sr.), Kayley Walsh (Sr.), Amelia Hoffman (Jr.), Madelyn Hoffman (Jr.), Kendra Marra (Jr.), Hailey Walters (Jr.), Elanie Foster (So.), Abigail Main (So.), Kylie McCauley (So.), Allison Mooney (So.), Shaylagh Randall (So.), Patience Rivers (So.), Olivia Brown (Fr.), Haley Dolan (Fr.), Abigail Litts (Fr.), Emma Reid (Fr.), Ella Sherman (Fr.), Lanelle Vile (Fr.), Jade Dolan (8th).
Thousand Islands Vikings
Coach: Jon Benner (11th year)
2018 record: 2-8
Roster: Macey Cooper (Sr.), Rebecca Lantier (Jr.), Natalie Wetterhan (Jr.), Laney Johnston (So.), Abigail McCarthy (So.), Caryse Oliver (So.), Clarie Pettit (So.), Xena Skipper (So.), Claire Ward (So.)
LaFargeville swimmer: Kiana Malveaux (Jr.)
Canton enters the season hoping to win a 10th straight Section 10 championship. The Golden Bears completed another undefeated season last year, finishing 12-0 and dominated the Section 10 meet.
Canton returns three individual champions: Isabella Jaskowski (200 individual medley 100 backstroke), Emily Wentworth (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle) and Julia Domena (100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke). The other returning individual champion is St. Lawrence Central’s Emily Lantry (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle).