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Park girls turn to youth in pool

Alexandra Burd provides some experience to an otherwise young Park swim and dive squad. (Bulletin photo by Jace Frederick)

Park girls swimming and diving coach Amanda Johnson was very clear with her description of this year’s roster.

“We have some talented young swimmers this year,” she said.

Emphasis on young.

It’ll be a youth movement for the Wolfpack this season, but Johnson is optimistic about the young swimmer’s chances to contribute this season.

“They are key for us to hopefully win some meets this year,” she said. “We’ve actually added a couple new team members. That has really improved our practicing. They have the depth. They’re there. They’ve swam before. That helps us with those that don’t swim year round.”

There are some upperclassmen Johnson will turn to for leadership. Alexandra Burd, Maddy McNearney, Morgan Fox and Sarah Schank will captain the Wolfpack this season.

Schank won the 1-meter dive at the Section 3AA meet and finished 11th in state. Johnson said Schank is a leader who younger girls admire and turn to for guidance.

“I think she shows them that we can compete and that if you’re working hard that this is what you can achieve … We’re looking for her to keep up that leadership and hopefully be better than she was last yera,” Johnson said. “I’ve seen some of the younger girls striving towards that and [they’re] working harder than I’ve ever seen.”

Johnson acknowledged the overall lack of depth will hurt the Wolfpack in a competitive Suburban East Conference.

“There are teams that we definitely aren’t able to compete with that have lots of girls and lots of girls that swim all the time,” Johnson said.

She hopes, however, to compete with some of the middle-of-the-pack teams like White Bear Lake and Forest Lake.

“We’re very strong in our distance swimming,” Johnson said. “We’re going to capitalize on working towards our sprinting.”