There will be plenty on the line when the Region 1 Swimming Championships commence this weekend at Viking Hall.
For many swimmers, it will be one last chance at qualifying for the state meet. For those who have already qualified for state, it will be a chance to set a personal best or win an event in order to gain some momentum heading into the biggest meet of the year.
But amid all the drama set to unfold inside the aquatic center at Viking Hall, one thing is all but a foregone conclusion — Science Hill will walk away with the combined team title.
The Hilltoppers have morphed into a juggernaut on the local swimming scene in recent years, a development Science Hill coach Chris Coraggio said he owes to the swimmers that have passed through his program.
“A lot of kids have decided that swimming and diving are important enough to them to make the commitment to train year round,” Corragio said. “I’ve also been fortunate that my better swimmers are also my hardest workers.”
A combination of talent and leadership on both the girls and boys sides make the Hilltoppers an overwhelming force when they show up for a meet.
But the depth on Coraggio’s roster is a major key to Science Hill’s dominance — it breeds fierce competition during training that helps every swimmer raise his or her game.
“When I design our training plan, I design it from the top down,” Coraggio said. “But within each individual lane we have a hierarchy as well, not just within the entire team.”
That type of competition pits talented swimmers against each other in each individual event, and the results speak for themselves. Science Hill dominated the Big 6s meet earlier in the month and fully expect to turn in the same type of performance this weekend.
Coraggio admits that one of his biggest challenges as a coach is to be sure he’s pushing his team hard enough. That was the reason behind swimming in a meet against Baylor School earlier this year, a program that Coraggio fully expects to walk away with the team title at the state meet.
“We do have high expectations and that’s driven by our kids and their desire to excel,” Coraggio said. “The dedication of our kids is the key.”