The Riverside-Brookfield girls swim team returns with high expectations this fall. Much of Heather Mathis and the Bulldogs’ shared optimism stems from a talented junior-laden group that gained valuable varsity experience last season.

Juniors Ariel Moon (butterfly), Abigail Louthen (butterfly, backstroke), Emma Veon (individual medley) and Allie Burke (freestyle) will assume more prominent roles to help offset the loss of graduated swimmers Amanda Gregus (three-time state qualifier) and Tori Burris.

Senior Megan Frey also returns as a key swimmer in the 100-yard butterfly for RB along with Sydney Veon (breaststroke) and Dana Callanan (200 IM, breaststroke).

Nicole Capone, Anastasia Caro, Andrea Caruso, Eleni Collis, Destiny Diaz-Oday, Moira Dunn, Gabriela Lambruschini, Rena McCullough, Emily Michl, Renee Miedlar, Rachel Pavlakovic, Cecilia Ringo and Tessa Sundstrom comprise the rest of the RB roster. Kirby Igoe is Mathis’ assistant coach.

“It’s important that our swimmers are mentally tough,” Mathis said. “This team has a good work ethic, and all the girls get along well. We’re hoping for lifetime bests from all of our swimmers. We would also like to move up in both conference and sectional competition.”

The Bulldogs placed fourth at their own invite in 2010. Moon swam a time of 1:12.53 in the 100 fly, while Louthen registered solid showings in the 100 fly (1:13.37) and 100 backstroke (1:12.71). Moon and Emma Veon teamed with Gregus and Burris to claim first place in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

This season, RB has already competed in a couple of dual meets, losing to Hinsdale South 133-50 and Glenbrook South 138-32.

The Bulldogs host their annual invite on Sept. 17 (1 p.m.). The team will also compete at the Hinsdale South, York, Sandburg and Stagg invites before closing the regular season at the Independent Swim Conference Meet on Oct. 29. Host DeKalb, Oswego, Fenton and RB should vie for the three spots.