By Rob LaPlante
A year removed from a perfect dual meet season, the St. Michael-Albertville boys’ swim/dive team is primed for similar results in a much more difficult schedule.
Noah Dalluge is one of six senior captains returning this season. Dalluge is looking to improve on his 12th place finish at state in the 50 freestyle. Senior Brandon Richardson had a state qualifying time in the 100 freestyle and sophomore Grant Moser also made it to state in 2011-12 in the 100 butterfly.
While the team returns most its state qualifiers, the Knights will look to replace a few key players as well as compete in their toughest schedule in five years as a program. They also are hoping to challenge Monticello for the top spot in the Mississippi 8 Conference.
“We have a tougher dual meet schedule,” said head coach Tom Guillou. “We’ll be swimming Maple Grove, Breck-Blake and Wayzata in dual meets. We’re looking to do the best we can with a tough schedule and hopefully challenge Monticello.”
Along with Richardson and Dalluge, Eli Guillou, Sam Konsor, Max Rooney and Cam Johnson will captain this year’s squad.
“We have six captains and they are all stepping up and leading the team so far,” Guillou said. “We’re looking at Noah to move up to top eight at state and both Moser and Richardson are looking to place higher. We lost three guys who scored points last year, but we have some good guys ready to step in.”
Garrett Abraham will start his second year as assistant head coach and Jamie Larson begins her third year as diving coach. Sophomore Hanos Mahari is the team’s top returning diver.
The Knights season begins this Saturday when they participate at the Hutchinson Invitational. On Dec. 13 is the M-8 Conference Relay Meet. Another highlight will be the team’s first invitation to the annual Maroon and Gold Meet at the U of M Aquatic Center.
“We’re hoping to see some really good competition there,” Guillou said. “Those dual meets are going to really be challenging. But it will be good. It will be fun to race and get ready for sections.”