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Dobyns-Bennett swimmers end Science Hill win streak

Jeff Birchfield • Dec 3, 2019 at 9:50 PM

KINGSPORT — Science Hill has ruled the roost in local high school swimming in recent years, but Dobyns-Bennett appears to be pecking away at the Hilltoppers’ dominance.

The Indians defeated the Hilltoppers 197-174 in a combined boys and girls score Tuesday night at Kingsport Aquatic Center. According to D-B coach Nathan Love, it’s the first time since 2006 the Indians have won the head-to-head matchup.

“We’ve been chasing them down for a while now,” Dobyns-Bennett coach Nathan Love said. “It’s good to give them some good competition.”

Dobyns-Bennett won 11 events on the girls’ side, where it outscored the Lady ’Toppers 119-67. Libby Russum won the 100 freestyle (55:40) and 200 freestyle (2:03:01) while Kassidy McGuire won the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle. Both girls were part of the 200 medley and 400 free relay teams, while Grace Allen won both the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley.

“D-B has a really strong team this year and they’ve done a nice job building up the program,” Science Hill coach Chris Coraggio said. “It’s good to get out there and race somebody competitive with us.”

Ava Sherer (50 free), Grace Allen (100 backstroke) and Kyandi Lane (1-meter diving) also picked up wins for the Lady Indians. Noel Gordon (100 breaststroke) was the lone race winner for Science Hill.

The Hilltoppers fared better on the boys’ side, where they finished 107-78 ahead of the Indians.

Freshman Matthew Potter won the 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke — and was part of the 200 medley and 400 free relay teams. Luke Barnes won the 100 backstroke and placed in the top three in the 100 butterfly. Barnes also was part of two winning relay teams.

Potter and Barnes were joined on the relay teams by Jonah Cathelyn, who won the 500 freestyle and the 200 individual medley. As expected, a pair of Science Hill athletes were 1-2 in the 1-meter diving competition.

“Both of our senior divers, Nicholas Dorr and Nic Van Eaton, have been working hard and are two of the top divers in the state,” Coraggio said. “On the swim side, Luke Barnes was in a little slump last year — but it looks like he’s coming out of it.

“Noel Gordon had a little rough time in the IM, but she’s a good breaststroker and can be in the top 16 in the state. Saanvi Goenka, we ask her to do a lot of things and it’s important to have someone with that versatility. Emma Hall, it looks like she’s going to have a good senior year.”

Love mentioned several of his swimmers as well. Shane Estes won the 50 and 100 freestyle races. Jonathan Lai was victorious in the 100 butterfly and they teamed with RJ Brumit and Marcus Taylor to win the 200 freestyle relay.

Also, the Indians were thankful to the Kingsport Aquatic Center, which has become their official home away from campus.

“We have our pool at D-B where we like to host meets,” Love said. “This is good for the bigger atmosphere and when you have the bigger teams. We’ve got a lot of good swimmers on the boys and girls team and this is good for us.”

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