Returning for his junior year, Levreault-Lopez will face some tough competition — many of whom are at least a year younger than him — in defending that title.
Levreault-Lopez is one of the few returning swimmers for Woodstock, which lost more than half of the team to either graduation or transfer.
Despite that, coach J.T. Gillin isn’t counting the Wolverines out of any meet.
“The new freshman class is as talented as I have ever seen in Cherokee County since I moved down here in 2006,” he said.
Among those Gillin expects to have immediate impacts are Giovanni Oliva, A.J. Cox, Josh Thrift, Matt Weissel, Jake Wilder and Zach Went.
Juniors Trevor Gattis and Owen Bailey should also help as the Wolverines attempt to defend the county title they have won each of the last two years.
“The (Cherokee County) relay meet will be a good barometer of just how far the Wolverines might go this year,” Gillin said.
At Etowah, the boys program hasn’t been as strong as the girls in recent years, but the Eagles have still held their own at most meets.
Coach Virginia Richards looks for improved seasons by swimmers such as Robert Zamorano, Craig Wineman and Sawyer Gibson-Long, while senior captain Cory Hire will surely make an impact. Freshmen Ben Amick and Tony Wineman are also expected to contribute.
“As usual, the girls are looking stronger out of the gate than our boys,” Richards said. “But I expect (the boys) to hang tough, like they did last year, and give some solid performances. County is going to come down to how deep we can score again, and we will be looking for a total team effort.”
As for Sequoyah, Ben and Jack Syers return, as do Kyle Renner, Nick Duclos and Austin Morrison.
Coach Nell Hess is hoping a few others will have come along in a couple of months.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how they will be swimming by the end of the season,” Hess said.
River Ridge has four freshmen who coach Sarah Goodbread has put on her watch list. She expects Jackson Burke, Brad Burke, Brain Oktavec and Brain Biddiscombe to all make an impact for the Knights.
“In the years past, our boys team has not been as strong as our girls team,” Goodbread said. “This year, I think the tables are turning and our boys program will be extremely strong. There were several events at our first meet where our boys took first, second and third place. This is very exciting and promising for this upcoming season.”
Goodbread said the improvements are due in part to new swimmers, but also through hard work by the returners. Among the returners are Ivan Stavrev, captain Greer Blackmon and Josh Butler, who has already qualified for the state meet in the 50-yard freestyle.
Goodbread hopes to add a few more state-qualifiers during Saturday’s Cherokee County Relays.
Key swimmers from Cherokee include Ty Dangerfield and Dillan Pierce, while Creekview is led by Nick Albors, Landon Egeland, Garrett Joseph and Austin Griffin.