Anne Arundel County will be well-represented when the 48-team Central Maryland Swim League opens its season June 27.
Fifteen county teams will be competing in five of the league's seven divisions, including three squads in the elite Division I.
Crofton Swim and Tennis Club, Severn River Swim Club and Shipley's Choice SC are the three regional contingents competing in the highly competitive Division I.
The Aquatics from Crofton will rely on their tremendous depth, which includes a school of 150 swimmers. Crofton's 14-year coach Ken Barsa has seen his team win the league championships three times over the last eight seasons, but the Aquatics have fallen short of the title for the past two years.
Leading the way for Crofton this season will be Kristin Nelson, who competes in the 11-12 girls bracket. She set three team records last season in the 50-meter freestyle (32.89 seconds), 25 backstroke (18.08) and 25 butter fly (16.37).
Courtney Saunders (15-18 girls) set two team records for Crofton in the 100 intermediate medley (1:13.69) and 50 back (34.33), while Meghan Joyce (15-18) set a record in the 50 breaststroke (38.02).
Jay Gelman (15-18 boys) has been a member of Crofton's squad for 10 years and is expected to emerge as one of the league's top swimmers in the butterfly and breaststroke.
"Division I is a very competitive division, so we're just hoping to swim the best we can," said Barsa, whose home pool will be the site of the Anne Arundel County Swimming Championships July 16 and 19. "We truly are a summer swim team, and we're just trying to compete the best we can with what we have. It's good summer competition."
Mike McTammany's Severn River club hopes to improve on its 2-3 record of last year, which earned it a fourth-place finish.
Severn River will be strong in the 15-18 age group with Michael Fowler, Jennifer Duffy and Sarah Noble, but McTammany isn't trying to take his team too seriously.
"We're pretty strong throughout the lineup, but in summer swimming, the main thing is to make it a good experience for kids," said McTammany. "Winning meets is fun, but we strive for personal improvement."
Kathy Manley's Shipley's Choice squad will look to Erin Cain (15-18 girls), Laura Bodine (11-12 girls), P. J. Frappolo (15-18 boys) and Adam Young (11-12 boys) to keep it afloat this season.
"I think we'll be very competitive," said Manley, whose team finished 3-2 last season. "We have a lot of experience in the older age groups and a lot of depth in the younger ones, so we're a pretty well-rounded team."
Kevin Riffle's swim team at Glen Burnie Park is the lone county contingent participating in CMSL Division II.
Glen Burnie moved up to Division II after going undefeated in Division III last year. Matt Fouse and Christie Jones should help Glen Burnie in the 15-18 age bracket, while Katie Danforth is expected to excel among the 9-10 girls.
"I think we have the numbers and the talent to win at this new level," said Glen Burnie Park assistant coach Julie McDivitt. "It's going to take a lot of hard work, but we have a very commited team. We're known for our spirit and crazy antics before each meet."
Eric Sloan's team at Chartridge in Severna Park has moved up to Division V after a 4-1 record last year at Division VI. With swimmers like Sarah Kos (11-12), who also swims for the well-respected Severna Park YMCA, Chartridge should be competitive in a division that boasts another area contingent -- Olde Mill.
Scott Krause, Crofton Country Club's first-year coach, inherits a team that moved to Division VI after finishing in a three-way tie for first in Division VII last season with Watermont and Southdown Swim Club of Annapolis.
Crofton is loaded in the 13-14 age group, with Katie Mazza and Lisa Smith on the girls side and freestyler Chris Gordon anchoring the boys.
"It's tough to predict how we'll do in this division," said Krause. "The competition will be a little stiffer, and we are young, so we'll lose a lot of points in the older age groups."
Southdown's first-year coach Tracy Carroll has some fine swimmers in Tracy Carroll, Lisa Tate and David Kinney, but inexperience could keep them from improving on last year's 3-1 mark.
After struggling to an 0-5 finish in Division VI last season, Nat Ballard's swim team at Country Club Estates in Glen Burnie hopes to find relief in Division VII.
The third-year coach has a couple of good swimmers in Kyle Shannon (15-18 boys) and Leslie Currier (15-18 girls), and he is looking to gain some respect this season.
"I'm looking to break .500, and I think we can go 4-1," said ZTC Currier, who will compete in a division that includes Crofton Village Apartments, Naval Academy Juniors and Chartwell Country Club. "If we get commitment from the older swimmers, and we can get some of the new kids in shape, we should have a good year."
Other county pools fielding teams this season will are the Andover Swim Club, St. Andrew's Swim and Tennis Club in Severna Park and Waugh Chapel Swim Club in Gambrills.