LOUISVILLE -- It was easy to overlook the stellar season put together by Amanda Sanders last year for the Monarch girls swim team.
This was in no way any fault of Sanders. She simply had the misfortune of being paired against some of the top swimmers in the state and, in one event, even the nation.
Sanders hopes her senior season will be a different story. As one of the top swimmers in the Class of 2013, the Monarch senior is taking aim at competing for at least one individual state title when the finals roll around in February.
"She's definitely striving for that," Monarch coach Ted Romero said. "I know she wants to do well at the BoCo Invite and hopefully follow that good effort right into state."
Sanders placed fourth at state last year in the 100 breaststroke, finishing behind three of the top swimmers in the state. The winner of that event was former Heritage swimmer Shelly Patton, who recently won the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week award at Northwestern. The runner-up was former Lewis-Palmer standout Laura Day, currently at Liberty University, while the third-place finisher was former Fairview star Kourtney Fosse, who signed with Wisconsin.
While Sanders is the top returnee in the breaststroke, she also will be looking for an improved finish in the individual medley. Sanders won the consolation heat of the individual medley last year, missing the finals by only 14 one-hundredths of a second, to finish ninth overall in an event won by Cherry Creek All-American Bonnie Brandon.
Although Sanders will be the Coyotes' individual standout, and the team's primary weapon on relay teams, she hardly is the only talent returning to a squad optimistic about improving on its 20th-place finish in the team standings at state.
Senior Morgan Commander finished 15th in the backstroke last year while junior Taite Henderson also qualified in the back. Romero also is counting on seniors Elise Kinney and Mandy Frazier to fill a valuable leadership role.
"Amanda is more of a quiet leader, a leader by example kind of person," Romero said. "We have other leaders that I think can really take on that leadership role. That's the good thing about having a deep senior class."
Follow Pat Rooney on Twitter: @prooney07