But Brookwood had just a little bit more in last year’s Class AAAAA state meet, and the Lady Trojans had to settle for second.
While the experience is there for Lassiter in the 2011-12 season, the question is if the Lady Trojans will have enough depth to jump back on top. They’re also a younger team than in recent years, and the season could also hinge on how well their large sophomore class has progressed.
Senior Jordan Drake (100 breaststroke) will lead a junior- and sophomore-laden Lassiter team this season. Nicole Prendes (100 backstroke, 100 freestyle) and Danielle Yanes (100 backstroke) head the junior class, and Olivia Clark, Rachel Cuttic, Lauren O’Malley, Ali Ramirez, Emma West and Rachel Weissert round out the sophomore class.
Another challenge for Lassiter will be attempting to win its 12th county title in the past 13 seasons.
“Lassiter has a history of success,” said Lauren Barnes, who succeeded Glenn Meeden as the Lady Trojans’ coach, “and our swimmers and divers enter competition with high expectations for themselves.”
Kennesaw Mountain and Walton will also challenge Lassiter with their depth, and either team could dethrone Lassiter in winning county this season. The Lady Mustangs had a historic season with a fifth-place finish at state, and Walton cracked the top 10, with an eighth-place finish.
Morgan Stephenson and sisters Melissa and Rebecca Postoll helped carry the Lady Mustangs last season. While Stephenson has moved on to Florida State, the Postolls will team up for one more season before Melissa graduates.
Rebecca Postoll, only a sophomore, is a contender to win state in the 500 freestyle after finishing second last year.
They will join returning senior Savannah Long, who won state in the 400 freestyle, and senior diver Alex Hart, another returning state champion. Sophomore Sierra Burick is returning to swim the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.
“This is the best team we’ve ever had,” Kennesaw Mountain coach David Reason said. “We have a chance to duplicate or do better than what we did last year. We should be in the mix in state at the end.”
For Walton, junior Kira de Bruyn, who won a state title in the 200 individual medley last season, is only one of many who will be returning, joining senior Katherine Malcolm (100 backstroke, 100 freestyle), along with junior distance freestylist Halle Friedman and junior Jane Watts (200 IM, 100 freestyle).
Sophomores Johanna Keeline and Mary Beckwith will add speed to the lineup in the sprint-freestyle events, and sophomore Olivia Winkler is back to swim the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly.
“We were young last year and didn’t lose a lot,” Walton coach Sharon Loughran said. “All the ones who were on the edge (last season) are swimming great.”
Harrison was also a top-10 finisher at state last season, but it lost distance freestylist Madison Jacobi, who is now swimming at Florida. Jacobi ended her career with state titles in the 200 and 500 freestyles.
Her younger sister Olivia, a junior, is one of the Lady Hoyas’ key returners.