It turns out the Chardon Hilltoppers’ swim team didn’t need to worry about being idle for over a month.
The Lady Hilltoppers secured their fifth consecutive Western Reserve Conference title with a team score of 427 points and the boys’ team snagged second place by scoring 362 points last Saturday afternoon at the SPIRE Institute.
Coach Matt Parrish admitted his team surpassed his wildest expectations.
“It was great,” he said. “I thought we were stuck in second both the girls and boys’ races but the girls swam out of their minds. All the leaders on the team really did a good job of being in the moment and our boys did very well.”
The Lady Hilltoppers took the top spots in five races.
Seniors Gracie Duchon and Meghan Martin, junior Keeley Sneek and sophomore Lizzy Rockenberger won the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:57.48.
It marked the first time in school history that the Lady Hilltoppers won the 200-yard individual medley at a conference meet.
Freshman Kalya Schneider took fourth place in the 200-yard freestyle by clocking a time of 2:12.64.
Duchon repeated as champion in the 200-yard individual medley for the fourth straight season by out-touching her competition with a time of 2:12.79.
The Hilltoppers’ senior became the first female swimmer in school history to be a four-time champion in the same event at a conference meet.
“Gracie’s 200-yard individual medley was great,” said Parrish. “Her freestyle’s always strong but we’ve really been working the past couple of years on the backstroke and breaststroke and those are starting to come down and I think it sets her up nice for the next month.”
Rockenberger snagged first place in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:04.59.
Duchon won her second individual race of the day when she captured the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 54.50.
Senior Katie Snyder came in fifth place in the 500-yard freestyle by logging a time of 5:51.69.
The quarter of senior Charlotte Bennett, Sneek, Schneider and freshman Brooke Galinac took fifth place in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:50.40.
Junior Abigail Carson came in fourth in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:11.36
Rockenberger won her second individual race by taking down the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:06.39.
According to the ten-year coach, Rockenberger was the one who was most shocked by her banner day at the WRC meet.
“It wasn’t unexpected to say the least,” he said. “Lizzie’s worked hard but never has been the star. It was well deserved of her to do so. She’s probably the most unassuming kid on the team so for her to win I think it sparked something within her.”
Sneek came away with a fourth-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke after recording a time of 1:16.04.
The girls cemented their conference title when Duchon, Martin, Rockenberger and Schneider were runners-up in the 400-yard freestyle with a time of 3:55.33.
The boys were runners-up for the second consecutive year by winning five races.
Seniors Levi Rogers and Mario Tobaben, junior Nathan Bender, and freshman Dominic Iskra won the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:49.67.
Junior Jake Schneider came in fifth place in the 200-yard freestyle by clocking in at 1:57.25
Bender snagged first place in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:04.15.
Rogers captured the top spot in the 50-yard freestyle by recording a time of 23.72.
Schneider took third place in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.00.
Bender won his second individual race when he out-touched the competition in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:00.54. He did not compete in the 500-yard freestyle his sophomore year.
“Nathan is a very all-around swimmer,” noted Parrish. “He can swim most events that are on the bracket for high school swimming. Last year we didn’t put him in it because Lochlan Koenin, our senior swam it last year and won it, so Nathan came back this year and swam it.”
It was the second time over the last three years Bender won the 500-yard freestyle. His first victory came during his freshman campaign.
Rogers came in third place in the 100-yard backstroke by clocking in at 59.67.
The team of Rogers, Schneider, Bender and freshman Danny Greene finished the meet by winning the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:26.63.
The Hilltoppers’ quartet set a new conference record by eclipsing the previous time by a full second.
“We had been gunning for that record probably since the beginning of the season since I added up our times and figured out what the boys could do,” Parrish explained. “On that note we were thrilled. It was a great resolution to the end of our meet.”
Chardon will return to the pool for the Perry Invitational at Perry High School on Jan. 14 beginning at 6 p.m.