Hilltoppers off to fast start

Hilltoppers swimmer Ryan McConachie swims the but- terfly leg of the individual medley in Thursday’s 445-63 victory over Scott Air Force Base. (Jeremy Kovarik photo)

For the Republic-Times

The Hilltoppers began the season with hopes of winning the Midwest Swim Conference championship. Off to a 4-1 start, they look to be headed in the right direction.

“It’s been a great summer so far,” Hilltoppers assistant coach Linda Wheatley said during Thursday’s meet — a dominating 445-63 victory over Scott Air Force Base. “We have a really good group of swimmers.”

In addition to the win over Scott Air Force Base, Dupo has also posted victories against West Haven, Dorchester and Freeburg. Their lone loss came to Highland, when the team had close to 80 swimmers out.

Wheatley is proud of how quickly the Hilltoppers have progressed throughout the summer, especially the younger swimmers.

“We have some younger kids who, at the beginning of the season, were just learning to swim for the first time,” she said. “Now they’re swimming all the way down the pool. It’s awesome.”

Wheatley has also been impressed with her more experienced swimmers.

“It’s been difficult to pinpoint any superstars because everyone has done so well,” she explained. “But there have been a few who have stood out thanks to their performance and dedication.”

Pictured is this year’s Hilltoppers swim squad, which is off to a 4-1 start to the season. (Tammy Taylor photo)

Among the standouts are: Sam, Alex and Jillian Rosenkranz; and Carter Nelson, who has been “phenomenal.” Wheatley also had high praise for Courtney, Bridget and Natalie Bayer, who have been “very reliable” this year. “They’re always at every practice and every meet,” Wheatley said. “We know that we can count on them.”

In addition to their accomplishments in the pool, Wheatley is also happy with the way her team has conducted themselves. She said that one of the proudest moments of the season came during the Hilltoppers’ loss to Highland.

“Their coach told us that we showed more sportsmanship than any other team they had faced this year,” she said. “Teaching our kids respect and courtesy is a big part of coaching.”

Wheatley hopes that Dupo’s successes—both in and out of the water—continue as the Hilltoppers gear up for the conference championship Meet, July 20, with three more regular season meets remaining.

The Hilltoppers faced Kings Point Tuesday and won, 316-213. The remaining regular season meets include: O’Fallon at home, July 9; and on the road at St. Clair, July 11.

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