One area swim team will be returning to Section II this season, while several others are looking to rebuild with young teams.
The Fonda-Johnstown team, which was disbanded last year, will return this season under coach Joe Hart. He will be assisted by Fonda-Johnstown girls' swimming coach Julianna Popp.
"After a year without the program we are looking to build the program once gain," Hart said. "On this year's team, about half of the swimmers have competitive swimming experience, while the other half are completely new to the sport."
Gloversville's Nick Cirillo, front, battles with Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake's Brandon Beaudoin in the 500-yard freestyle finals at the Section II small school championships Feb. 18 at Shenendehowa High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Of the swimmers that have experience, two swam for Fonda-Johnstown in 2010-11: Cody Arminio, Stephen Dunbar. Arminio is a senior and Dunbar is a junior.
"The goal this year is to help each and every individual swimmer succeed to their fullest potential whatever that might be," Hart said. "I am looking forward to the challenge."
Fonda-Johnstown will be looking to improve its times throughout the season and Hart said he anticipates getting many of his swimmers' times low enough to qualify for the Section II championship meet in February.
The Gloversville Sea Dragons are coming off a strong season last year, which saw them finished third in the Foothills Council with a 6-4 record and fifth at the Section II championship meet.
They did, however, lose some quality swimmers from last year.
Gone is Chris Mosconi, who set a school record in the sectional preliminaries in the 100-yard breaststroke and finished fourth in the event. Cam Oathout and Chris Fox, who were part of the school-record 400-yard freestyle relay team also have graduated. The only swimmer to return from that team is Nick Cirillo. Fox also has set a school record in the 50-yard freestyle.
"With the graduation of some great swimmers and divers, we have some big holes to fill, but our returnees and newcomers have really stepped up and developing nicely," Harrington said.
Cirillo will highlight a wealth of Sea Dragon swimmers who will return to the Gloversville Middle School this season. Cirillo finished fourth in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events at sectionals last year. Wade Inman was on the fifth-place sectional 200-yard medley relay team and Brandon Paul was 10th in the 50-yard freestyle.
To generate additional success this season, Gloversville has reworked some of its training techniques.
"We have redeveloped our weight and dryland programs this year to focus more on explosive power and high-intensity movement," Harrington said. "We are confident that with this new programs, we should see a much more dynamic swimmer in the water."
With some sectional experience remaining on the team and the changes in their training methods, the Sea Dragons are looking to put more competitors in the sectional meet and possibly beyond.
"The effort we see in and out of the pool should help toward making a winning season very obtainable," Harrington said. "We just have to stay healthy and focused."
The Amsterdam Sea Rams are looking to replace two swimmers who went to the state championship meet last year, and one of those two swimmers, Antonio Lanzi, came home with a New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship in the 200-yard freestyle last year. Lanzi is now at the University at Buffalo. Lucas Santiago, who went to the state meet in the 100-yard freestyle, where he finished 21st.
"We are rebuilding after the loss of two very strong swimmers from last year," Amsterdam coach Nancy Spagnola said. "We have a few solid swimmers and two very good divers that we hope will fill in the gaps of the loss of Santiago and Lanzi.
The Sea Rams' top returnee is Kris Santos, who was the second-best diver in the section behind Manny Pollard, who graduated from Albany Academy last year. He also was on the sectional championship 400-yard freestyle relay team. Liverio was fourth at the sectional diving meet a year ago.
Patrick Purtell was 11th in the 100-yard breaststroke last year and Forrest Lee was ninth in the 100-yard butterfly and 16th in the 200-yard individual medley. Reyers Brusoe was 14th in the 500-yard freestyle as a freshman.
"We are excited to see what Lee and Brusoe can do this year and have especially high hopes for our diving team of Liverio and Santos," Spagnola said.
Canajoharie-Fort Plain is looking to rebuild after its seventh-place finish at last year's sectional tournament.
Eleventh-year coach Phil Horender comes into the season after losing Anthony Franchi, Sheldon Vosburgh, Tyler Towse and Emily Hoffman to graduation.
"We have an influx of youth this season," Horender said, "specifically a group that has come up through the ranks of club swimming together."
Even though Canajoharie-Fort Plain is a young squad, there is a group of returnees that did qualify and place in last year's sectional championship meet.
Chris Deyette finished 11th in the 200-yard individual medley last year and 10th in the 100-yard breaststroke. Ruben McFarlane was 12th in the 500-yard freestyle and seventh in the 100-yard backstroke.
"I think the ceiling for growth is high and I'm excited to see not only how my younger swimmers respond to the workload of varsity, but how my veteran swimmers do after impressive swims last year," Horender said.
The 30 swimmers listed on the Canajoharie-Fort Plain roster also is the largest group Horender has had in his 11 years at the helm, which will give the team some flexibility.
"It will help filling events throughout the year and giving individuals more flexibility in what events they can concentrate their efforts in," Horender said.