The Salida High School girls’ swimming team lost nine seniors from last year’s record-breaking squad, which had 11 state qualifiers and four individual event finalists, the team’s most ever.
However, the Lady Spartans are returning some strong girls and also have some fast freshman joining the roster this year.
“We’ve got some very, very strong swimmers,” head coach Wendy Gorie said.
Captain Elise Mishmash, who captured Salida’s first swimming state title last year in the 100 freestyle, is back for her senior season and has already committed to swim in college at Minnesota State University-Mankato.
“Elise is on fire and is swimming really hard,” Gorie said. “She wants to double at state.”
Mishmash almost won double state championships last season when she also finished second in the 200 freestyle.
Three of the team’s juniors, captain Hannah Rhude, Allyna Bright and Lily Lengerich, also return with some state experience from last year.
“All three look really good,” Gorie said.
Senior Megan McMurry is healthy again after missing the last two seasons with injuries. McMurry also previously qualified for state.
Sophomore Lindsey Baroni is in a similar situation as McMurry, returning to the pool after being injured the last two years. “Lindsey is an unknown,” Gorie said. “If she gets well, she’ll contend at state.”
Some freshmen could also make an immediate impact on the team. “Two freshmen already swam state times this summer,” Gorie said, referring to Emma Diesslin and Ember Hill.
Other girls will also add strength to the lineup in different events, including sophomore Jaesa Carlson, who has times on the state-qualifying bubble, and sophomore Elena Wheeler in several different strokes.
While the swimmers have lots of potential, they’ll still have to show up and prove what they can do.
“Potentially, we could do really well,” Gorie said. “I think we’ll have a solid performance at league, but state is always a toss-up.”
“I think we’ll have a really strong team at state,” Rhude said. “It will be awesome to see how everyone performs.”