It doesn’t take long for the questions about next year to start being asked anytime a sports team wins a state championship.
So considering the Yorktown Patriots won the 2021 Virginia High School League’s Class 6 girls state swimming and diving title, so what about the 2022 campaign for the Arlington squad. Will it be possible for York- town to repeat as champions despite losing standout swimmer Torri Huske to graduation?
The answer is clear. Winning another state crown certainly will be harder, but the Patriots will continue to have much depth next winter with 13 key swimmers expected to return, along with a couple of divers, and of course any talented newcomers. So the team should be in the running.
The program always has a very large turnout of swimmers and divers, so talented newcomers always seem to contribute.
Yorktown coach Torey Ortmayer used this past season’s regular-season meets to move swimmers around to different events in order to find the strongest lineups and relays for the three postseason meets. He likely will do the same again next season, especially with the relays, where a victory is worth 40 team points.
“There are a lot of unknowns with new swimmers, so you have to find out about them,” Ortmayer said. “Swimmers want the chance to move around and prove themselves.”
With the exception of the Stanford University-bound Huske, and that’s a huge exception, and fellow senior Emily Larsen, Yorktown’s three relays will be intact next season.
Huske won two races and swam on two winning relays in this season’s state meet.
One of Yorktown’s top returning swimmers will be current junior Lauren Hartel, who finished a close second in the 500 freestyle at the state meet and was second in the 200 free.
Caroline Burgeson had top-10 finishes in two races, and she returns.
Two others who recorded top-10 state finishes who will return are Bridget Morris Larkin and Rachel Conley. Grace Jansen and Lauren Fatouros finished 11th in different events. They will be back along with Olivia Grabman, a top relay racer.
Young Yorktown swimmers this season expected to improve will be Ashley Gregory, Sarah Newman, Ashley Deabler, Clara Smith, Mari Klaire Morris Larkin and Sarah Furiches.
On the diving side, Ellie Simmons has the potential to qualify for the state meet next season and score valuable team points. She just missed qualifying this winter.
Three other divers in the program are Avery Stoker, Elise Maher and Winn Shenandoah.