Knights swim and dive team looking to defend title

6 all-conference players return


Sports Reporter


The swim and dive season is upon us and for the opening dual meet of 2012, head coach Tom Guillou is heading home for the team’s first road test.

Guillou is starting his third season as head coach of the St. Michael-Albertville girl’s team and Friday’s dual meet brings him back to his hometown of Winona, where he graduated from high school and was an all-state swimmer in 1987.

Guillou said he is looking forward to his return trip back home, but more importantly, is looking to get off to a fast start in a road heavy schedule this season.

“It is home for me,” he said, on his return to the school that he once was a state champ in the 200 freestyle. “The schedules flip-flop each year and this year we only have three home meets. We travel pretty well on the road, so it’s not too big of a disadvantage.”

Friday marks the beginning of the second year the team is competing at the Class AA level. A year removed from a share of their first ever Mississippi 8 Conference title, STMA is looking to improve on last year’s finishes. In its first season playing in Class 2A, the Knights finished second to Maple Grove in sections and placed three girls at the state meet.

Senior’s Krista Erickson, Katie Schmitz and junior Kasey Roberts all qualified for the 2011 state meet. Roberts was all-state after finishing third in the 200-Individual Medley and sixth in the 100 Breaststroke. Erickson placed in the top 16 in the One-Meter Dive and Schmitz qualified in the 200 Freestyle.

All three girls will be looked upon by Guillou to have big years and help improve a team that returns six all-conference players and four girls that were all-conference honorable mentions.

“We lost Courtney Hanson and Morgan Haeska, who both were two-point scorers for us,” Guillou said. “But we have a good group coming back. Our goals for the season are to see our times drop, score more points and send more individuals to state.”

The team captains will be Erickson, Schmitz and fellow senior Ellen Swedzinski.

Schmitz and freshman Jessica Metz are the top divers. Tammy Christensen will begin her sixth full season as STMA diving coach.

“Diving is just one event, but it’s an important event,” Guillou said. “We have a good dive coach and I expect Erickson to have another good year. Metz should provide us with that second diver, which is important to have. We’re going to need that depth and need that third and fourth swimmer to cash in on some events as well.”

STMA’s will open with three road meets. Sept. 6 they will be at Melrose and Sept. 8 they are at Big Lake. The first chance to see the Knights at home will be Sept. 13 against Cambridge-Isanti.