JDHS, TMHS Swim Teams Excel at State Championship

    Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain relay teams head to the starting blocks on Saturday at the state swim and dive championship.

    Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé and Thunder Mountain swim and dive teams had strong showings in the 2021 state swim and dive championship at Anchorage’s Bartlett High School over the weekend. The Crimson Bears and Falcons boys placed fourth and sixth, respectively, in the team scoring and the schools’ girls placed fifth and 10th, respectively. Kodiak won the boys’ title and Dimond the girls.

      “A lot of emotions,” TMHS coach Josiah Loseby said. “Both sad and happy, of course. Very happy with the way our season ended here, very happy with the way everything went. Very happy about the support that the kids provide for each other every single day no matter what. And you know, sad of course that this is the last year we will be together with our eight seniors. And at the same time, very happy and looking forward to what they do when they continue to grow and become young adults.”

      Crimson Bears coach Seth Cayce said the meet was great and it finished with the JDHS girls’ 400 relay charging into a fourth place finish in 3:43.89 to bring them into a tie for fifth place in the team standings with Homer; and then the JDHS boys’ 400 relay ended the meet with a co-win for the race as senior Tytan Frawley and Kodiak’s Jackson Krug anchored the swim for their respective teams and touched the wall simultaneously.

      “Excellent way to end it,” Cayce said. “The girls’ 400 relay dropped six seconds from regions and we couldn’t ask for a better performance from all of them. And then, of course, the icing on the cake was that boys’ 400 free relay. The last two races are always the most exciting to watch and of course it is always nice when you come out on top. At first, I’ll be honest, I didn’t see the tie. I just saw number one next to JD and threw my arms up, obviously celebrating. It’s still great. They all stepped up and dropped five seconds from regions.”

      The JDHS girls’ 400 free relay opened with sophomore Samantha Schwarting hitting splits of 26.44 and 28.70 for a 55.14 first leg; senior Tahlia Gerger followed with splits of 26.48 and 29.64, for a 56.12 second leg; freshman Emma Fellman hit 26.57 and 29.64, for a 55.68 third leg; and freshman Pacific Ricke hit splits of 26.99 and 29.96 for a 56.95 anchor leg, and the 3:43.89 finish.

      The TMHS girls placed eighth in the 400 free relay event in 3:55.66. Their legs were junior Sadie Jenkins (27.80, 30.37), sophomore Gabrielle Anderson (28.35, 31.17), junior Alex Jenkins (28.06, 30.45) and senior Nancy Liddle (27.68, 31.78).

    The JDHS boys’ 400 free relay legs were junior Chaz VanSlyke (23.77, 25.88), senior Adrell Mulgrew-Truitt (23.70, 26.99), junior Harrison Holt (23.20, 25.15) and Frawley (22.50, 24.13).

      Frawley also won the 200 free (1:43.42) and placed second in the 500 free (4:45.36).

      “I was just trying to leave it all out there,” he said. “I was just trying to enjoy my senior year and I think I did. It is pretty hard to describe. I’m pretty speechless with the results.”

      Falcons sophomore PJ Foy won two events and was named the Outstanding Male Swimmer of the meet. Foy wasn’t even born when the state record for the boys’ 100 breaststroke was set, but after his Saturday swim in 55.45 (besting the 2000 mark of 56.40 set by Soldotna’s Joshua Gemmell) it isn’t a stretch to think that the new mark may stand for another two decades.

      Foy nearly broke another mark, winning the boys’ 200 yard IM earlier in the day with a time of 1:50.55 (record is 1:50.08 by Kodiak’s Talon Lindquist in 2017).

       He also stood on an Olympians’ podium.

      After Seward’s Lydia Jacoby - a 2020 Summer Olympics Gold Medalist in the 100-meter breaststroke - was named the Outstanding Female Swimmer of the state championships, along with Homer’s Jillian Crooks, Foy was named the Outstanding Male Swimmer in the state championships and Jacoby and Foy collected their medals together.

      “It was big. I was not expecting that,” Foy said of the honor. “I didn’t even know that existed… I was just really happy to be up there with an Olympic gold medalist, that was so cool. I think that might have been one of my most favorite parts of the meet.”

      Foy also noted his teammates and coaches Loseby and Cody Brunette as inspirations, something Loseby said is meaningful.

      “The team dynamics are, I think, one of the more important aspects of a successful program,” Loseby said. “And that’s really what we strive to accomplish here. It’s good that the swimmers are reciprocating the same feeling and belief as well. I strongly believe that if we are doing stuff together for each other as a team that is how we are going to be the most successful as possible. This year is a little bit different because we didn’t have state last year. Now we have two groups of kids that have never come up to a state meet. It can be pretty overwhelming.”

    A big team dynamic boost came with the Falcons dive team placing two athletes in the finals, a first in the last decade. Freshman Brayden DeTienne-Falls placed seventh and junior Stig Cunningham eighth. Junior Owen Berger made it into the semifinal round.

      “I think a lot of it comes from the divers supporting each other,” dive coach Nathan Teal said. “They’ve been really enthusiastic and involved in each others lives this year. There has been a lot of encouragement both from the people who are here at state and from the folks who unfortunately didn’t get to come here. A lot of diving is mental concentration it takes to get up there in front of everybody, in front of a quiet pool, and just really not get distracted. It really is just you and the diving board in that moment you are performing a dive.”

      Cunningham said they were learning from the meet.

       “I’m just so excited to be here,” he said. “The competition is at a different level. It just pushes me to go harder and get to where I haven’t been before.”

      DeTienne-Falls said other divers shared information.

      “I got some tips,” he said. “On my two-and-a-half and stuff, I got some tips to make it better. The pressure kind of got to me and I messed it up. It is really, really cool to represent Thunder Mountain and being able to show that we are skilled in both swimming and diving. Diving is actually really hard. I thought it was going to be pretty easy when I was seeing people flip, I thought, ‘I could probably do that.’ I came in, it’s a lot of slaps in the water, a lot of training and stuff.”

      Cunningham said being there boosted the divers’ moods, “knowing that you are one of the best divers in the state, you earned your spot here. The top people are way up there but we did our best. I’m just proud of us. It’s a big honor and it is a lot to uphold. People think diving is just a weird form of sport. It is its own sport.”

    JDHS sophomore Samantha Schwarting placed second in the girls’ 500 free with 5:19.50, just behind race winner Samantha Bristor of West Valley (5:12.35), and fourth in the 200 free with a personal best time (1:57.21).

      “It didn’t feel as good as I would have liked it to,” Schwarting said of the 500. “I’m happy with second place, but I would have liked to have gone faster. I think I will definitely do that in the future, I’m just a sophomore, I’ve got time.”

      Schwarting said she learned from coach Cayce and assistant coach Amber Kelly at the state meet to not take things too seriously and is looking forward to the Glacier Swim Club season next.

      “I think I was really nervous and stuff heading into it,” she said. “I think just letting it go and having fun with the team and everyone. It is just so fun to hang out with everyone. I’m sad it is over. I think this year was so much fun compared to last year, we didn’t even get to have any real meets or anything. I’m really sad for all the seniors because some of them don’t swim GSC so this will be my last meet with them.”

      JDHS freshman Emma Fellman got best times in both of her events in preliminaries and again in finals, placing fourth in the 200 IM (2:12.88) and fifth in the 100 breast (1:06.38), and TMHS senior Jamie Heidersdorf placed eighth (1:09.96).

      JDHS junior Chaz VanSlyke got a best time in the boys’ 200 IM in preliminaries and a best time in the finals of the 100 fly.

      “For the past months I have been practicing really hard,” VanSlyke said. “Usually I have only been going, like, 54s. But just in the past two weeks I’ve dropped over two seconds. I’m pretty proud of that.”

      Relays were important for both schools team points.

      The JDHS boys placed fourth in the 200 medley relay in 1:39.16, in the order of Holt (back 26.22), freshman Matthew Plang (breast 28.60), VanSlyke (fly 22.95) and Frawley (free 21.25). The TMHS boys were fifth in 1:39.45, with sophomore Benson Boudreaux (back 26.38), senior Katrhik Sanguni (breast 28.00), junior Sven Rasmussen (fly 24.83) and Foy (free 20.90).

      TMHS’ Boudreaux (23.27), senior Samson Anderson (23.17), Sanguni (22.90) and Foy 20.50) were fourth in the boys’ 200 free relay in 1:29.86.

      TMHS’ S. Jenkins (26.04), A. Jenkins (26.30), sophomore Olivia Mills (24.77) and freshman Caitlin Sanders (25.15) were sixth in the girls’ 200 free relay in 1:42.26.

      The JDHS girls placed fifth in the 200 medley relay in 1:53.35 with Gerger (back 29.22), Fellman (breast 30.33), Schwarting (fly 27.60) and Ricke (free 26.20); and the TMHS girls were seventh in 1:53.69 with senior Nancy Liddle (back 28.39), Sanders (breast 32.01), senior Jamie Heidersdorf (fly 28.57) and Mills (free 24.72).

      The finals times of the JDHS and TMHS athletes are listed at the bottom of the story, a complete finals will be listed later.

      Falcons senior Teslin Smith stood at the pool side when the meet was over, clearly overcome with emotion.

      “I’m crying,” Smith said. “It was really awesome. I’m glad I got to come. It was just really great to be with the team one last time. I’m really glad I’m on this team. I don’t thing our friendships will go away when the season goes away so I’m really glad about that. It was really amazing to see everyone swim and do their best and just support each other. It was really nice.”

    Following are state finals event winners and/or southeast placers:

    Girls 200 Medley Relay

    1. Dimond 1:48.37; 5th JDHS 1:53.35; 7th TMHS 1:53.69.

    Boys 200 Medley Relay

    1st Kodiak 1:35.67; 4th JDHS 1:39.02; 6th TMHS 1:40.11; 8th Craig 1:43.29.

    Girls 200 Free

    1st Jillian Crooks, Homer 1:49.85; 4th Samantha Schwarting, JDHS 1:57.21; 8th Emma Gassman, Sitka 2:02.27.

    Boys 200 Free

    1st Tytan Frawley, JDHS 1:43.42; 5th Harrison Holt, JDHS 1:47.41.

    Girls 200 IM

    1st Lydia Jacoby, Seward 2:05.70; 4th Emma Fellman, JDHS 2:12.65.

    Boys 200 IM

    1st Patrick Foy, TMHS 1:50.55; 6th Chaz VanSlyke, JDHS 2:00.14.

    Girls 50 Free

    1st Anna Keen, Eagle River 23.61; 6th Olivia Mills, TMHS 25.15.

    Boys 50 Free

    1st Andrew Billings, Dimond 21.55; 7th Wesley Mank, Craig 22.48.

    Girls Diving

    1st Grace Greene, Homer 373.10.

    Boys Diving

    1st Kade Reynolds, Wasilla 508.25; 7th Brayden DeTienne-Falls, TMHS 293.40; 8th Stig Cunningham, TMHS 276.95.

    Girls 100 Fly

    1st Avery Hafele, Lathrop 55.70.

    Boys 100 Fly

    1st Chaz VanSlyke, JDHS 52.17; 3rd Benson Boudreaux, TMHS 54.15, 5th Sven Rasmussen, TMHS 54.91; 8th Trevor Dash, Ketchikan 56.22.

    Girls 100 Free

    1st Jillian Crooks, Homer 50.70; 7th Olivia Mills, TMHS 54.92.

    Boys 100 Free

    1st Jackson Krug, Kodiak 46.64; 4th Ethan Dill, Craig 48..72.

    Girls 500 Free

    1st Samantha Bristor, West Valley 5:12.35; 2nd Samantha Schwarting, JDHS 5:19.50; 5th Pacific Ricke, JDHS 5:30.11; 7th Nancy Liddle, TMHS 5:32.77.

    Boys 500 Free

    1st Conrad Fawcett, Service 4:41.59; 2nd Tytan Frawley, JDHS 4:45.36.

    Girls 200 Free Relay

    1st Dimond 1:36.91; 6th TMHS 1:42.26.

    Boys 200 Free Relay

    1st Eagle River 1:27.92; 4th TMHS 1:29.86.

    Girls 100 Back

    1st Avery Hafele, Lathrop 58.04; 4th Emma Gassman, Sitka 59.77; 7th Caitlin Sanders, TMHS 1:00.21.

    Boys 100 Back

    1st Ian Rocheleau, Kodiak 51.16; 2nd Wesley Mank, Craig 53.36; 5th Harrison Holt, JDHS 55.62.

    Girls 100 Breast

    1st Lydia Jacoby, Seward 59.66; 5th Emma Fellman, JDHS 1:06.38; 8th Jamie Heidersdorf, TMHS 1:09.96.

    Boys 100 Breast

    1st Patrick Foy, TMHS 55.45; 7th Karthik Sanguni, TMHS 1:02.16.

    Girls 400 Free Relay

    1st Dimond 3:36.51; 4th JDHS 3:43.89; 8th TMHS, 3:55.66.

    Boys 400 Free Relay

    1st JDHS & Kodiak 3:15.32.

    TEAM PLACINGS

    Girls - Dimond 98, West Valley 70, Colony 62, Eagle River 49, JDHS & Homer 43, Lathrop 38, Kodiak 31, Seward 23, TMHS 22, Palmer 14, Monroe 13, South 11, Hutchison 10, Wasilla 7, Sitka 6, Soldotna 5, North Pole 4, West 4, Service 2.

    Boys - Kodiak 79, Dimond 71, Eagle River 69, JDHS 62, Service 60, TMHS 49, West Valley 43, Palmer 27, Wasilla 22, West Anchorage 17, Craig 16, Chugiak 13, Colony 12, Kenai 5, Homer 2, South Anchorage 2, Ketchikan 1 and Valdez 1.

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