Courtney Lehmann1726

All-Area girls' swim and dive Coach of the Year, Centennial's Courtney (Lehmann) Louret, at her day-job office in Champaign on Friday Nov. 30, 2018.

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Following consecutive sectional champion what are your expectations for this year’s team?

Louret: My expectation is always to perform at the best of our ability and have fun doing it. This year, I do have another small group of girls similar to my last two years coaching, but that won’t get in the way of our performance. We would love to win sectionals again, but know there is a lot of great competition around us, and we’ll need to bring it. We’re hoping to send as many girls to the state meet as we can to represent Champaign-Urbana.

Who are some of your girls we should keep an eye on this season?

Louret: Megan Bernacchi (our only senior and captain), Hannah Hong, Ava Bernacchi, Annika Scott and Marin McAndrew.

What are the biggest challenges facing this year’s team?

Louret: Our small size, but we have proven that the size of the team doesn’t necessarily matter. It’s the quality of the swimmers. Also, not being able to practice consistently in our pool right now. Due to the renovations at Centennial Pool, we aren’t able to practice there until it’s completely finished. We’ve been practicing at Sholem, (Champaign) Country Club and now the YMCA. It’s awesome these places are allowing us to use their facilities, but also very difficult since we’re moving around so much. Central is in the exact same boat as us, but we are making it work.

Swimmers and divers to watch in 2019 season

NAME    YR.    SCHOOL

Megan Bernacchi    Sr.    Centennial

Reed Broaders    Jr.    Uni High

Emma Clapp    Sr.    BHRA

Alice Gao    Jr.    Uni High

Natalie Heaton    Jr.    Mahomet-Seymour

Honora Hoey    Soph.    Urbana

Madeline Hogg    Sr.    Danville

Hannah Hong    Jr.    Centennial

Angelynn Huang    Sr.    Uni High

Amalie Johnson    Jr.    Champaign Central

Hope Lee    Jr.    Champaign Central

Sally Ma    Soph.    Uni High

Olivia McMurry    Soph.    Mahomet-Seymour

Alyssa Pankau    Jr.    Urbana

Tyann Parker    Sr.    Urbana

Emme Pianfetti    Jr.    Centennial

Alexia Popa    Sr.    Champaign Central

Natalie Porter    Soph.    Danville

Lexie Seten    Soph.    Centennial

Gabrielle Spain    Jr.    Sullivan

Madison Stoffel    Sr.    Monticello

Payne Turney    Sr.    Clinton

Abbie Vessell    Soph.    St. Thomas More

Lela Wagner    Sr.    Danville

Julia Wilson    Sr.    Champaign Central

Events to watch

➜ Centennial, Champaign Central and Normal Community, Saturday, at Normal Community. The Big 12 Conference triangular begins at 10 a.m. Originally slated to take place at Unit 4 Pool in Champaign, it’s among the events moved due to Unit 4 Pool’s ongoing renovation.

➜ Centennial Charger Invitational, Sept. 21, at Bloomington. Much of the area’s local talent will be involved in a meet that begins at 9 a.m., including the likes of Centennial, Champaign Central, Danville, St. Thomas More, Uni High and Urbana. Also another contest displaced by Unit 4 Pool construction.

➜ Mahomet-Seymour, St. Thomas More, Uni High at Urbana, Oct. 16. It's not only senior night for the Tigers at the Urbana Aquatic Center, but also a good chance for the other three area programs involved to square off against one another.

➜ Twin City Invitational, Oct. 22, at Unit 4 Pool. Take all of the swimming squads from Champaign-Urbana and throw them into the same waters (starting at 4 p.m.) with one more month of experience under their belts, and you’ve got some quality competition slated. Always a good meet ahead of the postseason as well.

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

Prep Sports Coordinator

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).