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2013 Fall Sports Preview: Fresh faces to lead the Woodbury girls swimming and diving team this fall

Woodbury senior Kristina Swanson returns for the Royals this fall. Swanson was an All-Conference sprinter and a state qualifier in two relays a year ago. Bulletin file photo

There are some new faces in and out of the pool for the Woodbury girls swimming and diving team this year.

Highlighting the changes is the new Royals’ head coach, Michelle Lieder, who takes the reins from Marty Hoven, the coach of the team the past seven years.

This fall, Lieder will lead what she called a “young team with lots of potential.”

“The coaches are excited about what the season will bring,” Lieder said.

Gone from last year’s squad are longtime standouts Mikayla Mayer and Lauren Puglisi. Mayer, the Royals’ top sprinter last season, qualified for the state meet in four events and reached the state finals in three — the 50-yard freestyle (where she was the section champion), the 100-yard freestyle and as part of Woodbury’s 200-yard freestyle team. She is swimming for South Dakota State University this year. Puglisi was a two-time All-State diver for the Royals. She finished sixth in the Class AA state meet last year. Puglisi is now at the University of Wyoming.

Last year, as a team, the Royals finished in third place at the Section 3AA meet advancing four individual swimmers and two relays to state. Rosemount was able to defend its Section 3AA team championship title — ahead of second-place East Ridge.

The top three returning swimmers for Woodbury are expected to include: Senior Sydney Swanson, who was All-Conference and a state qualifier in the 100-yard backstroke (finishing runner-up at sections) and in both of the Royals’ relays, senior Kristina Swanson, who was All-Conference in the sprints and a state qualifier in the relays and junior Ana Sortland, an All-Conference swimmer who qualified for the state meet in the 100-yard breaststroke and as part of both relays. Sortland also broke the Woodbury High School record in the 100-yard breaststroke last year.

Other top swimmers include seniors Emily Schommer and Meg Graupmann, who will co-captain the team in 2013 along with Kristina Swanson.

On the diving board, in addition to Puglisi, 2012 graduate Megan George and freshman Meghan Miller finished in fifth place and sixth place at sections to earn trips to the state meet last season. Miller, who was All-Conference a year ago, returns to the plank this year along with senior captain Rose Peterson, junior Jillian Duddley and sophomore Erin Brino.

“The team is inexperienced but talented,” Lieder said. “We hope to qualify a couple of divers for the state meet.”

Woodbury kicked off the season with the annual Conference Relays at Stillwater Junior High School last Thursday. Next up, the Royals take on crosstown rival Park in the team’s home opener on Thursday, Aug. 29, at Woodbury High School.

—Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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