Freestyle Sprints Coach Hill's Take:
Juniors Amber Boucher and Stephanie North were in a class of their own last season in the sprint freestyle events, finishing one-two in both the 50 and 100 at the conference meet. North, a Klamath Falls, Ore., native, will be vying for her third-consecutive individual title in the 100. Boucher, from Keizer, Ore., is looking to climb back atop the podium in the 50 free. The two Oregonians hold all 20 spots on the all-time top 10 lists for the sprint freestyle events. North made her first U.S. Olympic Trial cut this summer in the 50 freestyle, and Boucher was within three tenths in both of the 50 and 100 freestyle. Aside from the challenge they present each other, a pair of transfers and two underclassmen are ready to add even more strength to the Broncos greatest line of defense, their sprint freestyle crew.
"Sprint freestyle was definitely a forte of ours last year, led by Stephanie North and Amber Boucher. They go back and forth, typically within fractions of a second in the 50 and 100 freestyle. That is great for us to have a front end and an anchor to every relay with those two. Kelly Forrester will have a good shot at being on both our 200 and 400 freestyle relays. She swims both the 50 and 100 freestyle. Madison Gray definitely falls into the 100 freestyle group, even though she may be best at the longer races. Stevie Hughey was on our top freestyle relay teams (200 and 400) at conference, and I really see her making some huge improvements this year. Olivia Harrell will be a standout in the 100 freestyle. She is one of the fastest incoming freshman we've had in the 100 freestyle. Kelsy Diener should be a factor in the 100 freestyle, and could definitely vie for a relay spot. Kim Nelson will be a senior, and I think she will be really motivated to excel during her final year, and I know she would really like to contribute in the 100 freestyle. Fellow senior Jenny Nowatzke is a good 50 and 100 freestyler, and I know she wants to go out on top, so it will be fun to see her work hard to make sure that happens."