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2012 Fall Preview: Dedicated coaches, athletes hope to propel Park girls swim team

Maddy McNearney returns to help buoy Park girls swimming and diving team in 2012. McNearney was an All-Conference honorable mention swimmer for the Wolfpack a year ago.

Park head coach Amanda Johnson is hoping a dedicated staff and team full of swimmers and divers will help lead to success for the Wolfpack this fall.

"I think that the girls are more focused on what they would like to achieve for this coming year," said Johnson, who is entering her fifth year as Park head coach.

Top returning athletes for the Wolfpack this season include sophomore diver Sarah Schank, junior swimmers Peyton Adams and Hannah Munson, senior swimmer Marit Christianson and sophomore swimmers Alexandra Burd and Maddy McNearney. McNearney was an All-Conference honorable mention swimmer for the Wolfpack a year ago.

Team captains for Park for the 2012 season are seniors Kelsey Fox, Janelle Johnson and Sarah Schiemann.

The one key graduate Park will need to do without in 2012 is diver Ali Ramey, who was a state meet qualifier last season.

Coach Johnson said a strength of this year's team is just the sheer numbers out for the team this season, but that quality depth will be a work in progress.

"It will be exciting to see how our new girls start out the year," Johnson said. "A good portion of the girls did some training before they came out, so it will be interesting where they will fall."

Park went winless in its 10 Suburban East Conference meets in 2011. This year, the team to beat in the SEC is Stillwater -- as usual. However, Mounds View and Woodbury should be among the strongest teams in the conference as well. In Section 3AA, defending champion Rosemount and defending runner-up Woodbury are expected to be the teams to beat.

Park hit the pool for the first time last week with the Suburban East Conference Relays. The team's first dual meet comes against Stillwater on Thursday, Aug. 30. Other top meets include the Tartan Invitational on Tuesday, Sept. 11, and at Forest Lake on Thursday, Sept. 6.

"The Tartan invite is always a good one for us, we seem to have a great meet at that pool," Johnson said. "Also Forest Lake will be a good one for us, and we can see how we match up."