'Toppers seeking fifth straight Region 1 swim title

Dave Ongie • Jan 21, 2010 at 12:00 AM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Science Hill’s swim team has won the last four Region 1 swim meets in dominating fashion.

But as far as Science Hill coach Chris Coraggio is concerned, the trophy case may as well be bare when his team hits the pool at Tennessee High this weekend.

“It all comes down to performance,” Coraggio said. “Those past titles do nothing to help us this year. We need to perform at our best this weekend to have a shot at bringing the trophy back to Science Hill.”

If anything, Coraggio believes that all the success the Hilltoppers have enjoyed in recent years puts more pressure on his swimmers and divers.

Science Hill may have piled up the points in last year’s regional meet, but 35 percent of those points have disappeared thanks to graduation and attrition.

“The challenge for our team is for individuals to step up and replace those points,” Coraggio said.

After having a great training session over Christmas break, Sullivan South may be poised to make some noise this weekend as well.

Swimmers Graham Witherspoon, Molly Swain and Dustin Gardner have already qualified for the state meet along with diver Josh Culbertson. But South coach Brooke Robbins is cautiously optimistic that four, perhaps five, more Rebels could qualify this weekend if all goes well.

“We’ll see on Saturday,” Robbins said. “They worked hard over Christmas, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

Science Hill is also hoping to add a few more qualifiers to the list of 21 swimmers and five divers who are state bound.

The Region 1 competition kicks off tonight at 5:45 with the divers taking center stage. It continues with the swimming preliminaries at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday. The finals are slated to start at 4 p.m.

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