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Dragons hope to build on successes at KISL

  • Clinton Dragons swim team co-captain Isaac Childers is one of 13 Clinton High School swimmers to qualify for the KISL champion- ship meet this year. - Tony Cox

  • Piper Bostrom is one of the four Clinton middle schoolers who have qualified for the KISL championship meet. She is joined by Danica Dufree, Nancy Estill and Hayden Shutt. - Tony Cox

  • Clinton’s Nancy Estill has been a top performer this year for the Clinton Dragons Middle School swim team. - Tony Cox

Clinton’s scholastic swim teams have enjoyed a successful season in 2023-24, and the athletes from Clinton High and Clinton Middle schools will look to culminate their campaign as the season enters its home stretch.

Clinton had 13 high school swimmers qualify for this weekend’s Knoxville Interscholastic Swim League city championships, which will be held at the University of Tennessee’s Allan Jones Aquatics Center Jan. 26-28.

The city championships were originally scheduled for last weekend, but were postponed due to last week’s winter storm, which forced the cancellation of classes and the postponement of several athletic events.

The delay, however, hasn’t damped the spirits around the city’s scholastic swim programs that have competed through a long campaign.

“It’s been a long season, and it’s always a long season; we start practice in mid-September,” Clinton Coach Jan Smith said.

“Our season goes through the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, but I’m really pleased that we have so many athletes competing at this level,” she said. “I’m extremely happy with these kids for the things they’ve accomplished this year.

“I have two captains [who]I’m extremely proud of, and it’s a total team effort.”

Isaac Childers and David Holt are Clinton’s captains, and seniors Matthew Armendaiz and Hallie Bailey have emerged as team leaders for the Dragons and Lady Dragons.

Smith also has the help of a pair of assistant coaches, who have been valuable resources. Lauren Knott is in her third year in the program, and Jonathan Leninsky, the city’s aquatics director, who coaches the Clinton Blaze and the Clinton Sharks club teams, has joined and works primarily with the scholastic program’s middle school athletes.

“It really is a team effort and it’s great to have two assistant coaches,” Smith said. “We all bring different things to the table. They have great ideas.”

Clinton’s top middle school girls include Piper Bostrom, Danica Dufree, Nancy Estill and Hayden Shutt.

All have qualified for the weekend’s city championships.

Middle school boys qualifiers include Nathan Jackson and Richard Jackson.

High school girls to qualify include Abigail Bennett, Elizabeth Carter and Ella Hill.

Armendaiz, Childers, Cooper Bostrom, Max Bostrom, Holt, Luke Hatmaker, Marlin Hamblin, Wesley Hill, Logan Johnson, Ryan Keller and Josiah Shelton have all qualified to compete in the high school meet.