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Returning state qualifiers lead Wheaton co-op swimmers

WHEATON – Coming off a runner-up finish at the York sectional a year ago, the Wheaton co-op swimming team have the pieces in place for another successful campaign.

The squad returns six state qualifiers, with Sarah Bradley, Amy Smith, Amanda Stiegal, Hannah Olsen, Lexi Simoneau and Elise Hogan all bringing plenty of experience back to the pool.

“We graduated two All-Americans,” said coach Jacob Ayers, “but the girls have worked very hard to improve since last year. With the addition of some very hard working freshmen, we are looking to improve upon our finishes from last year.”

The co-op, a collective with swimmers from Wheaton North and Wheaton Warrenville South, also placed third in the DuPage Valley Conference in 2012.

The squad has a large roster this fall with 64 athletes out for the team, 10 of which are divers.

“So far the group has jelled very well and is swimming well ahead of what they were one year ago,” the coach said. “Additionally, the sophomore class has really come into its own and has set itself up as the future of the team.”

After eight days off, the team returns to the pool tonight for a dual meet against West Aurora. Wheaton then heads to the Downers Grove South Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

“As always, our goal is to advance as many as possible to the state finals,” Ayers added. “The DVC conference meet is always tough and with the addition of Lake Park will be even tougher.  We are excited to see what the realigned conference looks like.”

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