Swim and dive triathlon raise money to help cover team travel expenses

  • Kane Graham and Lauren Kuhns keep pace with each other as they run back down the Spit, making their way back to the high school where the finish line for the three-part race was located. Graham finished second overall in the triathlon and Kuhns finished third overall, three seconds behind Graham.
  • Ella Blanton-Yourkowski rides her bike across the intersection of Spit Road and Kachemak Drive. The triathlon had a person posted with a stop sign at intersections where competitors has to cross street to alert traffic to the presence of runners and bikers.
  • Mick Bakker runs down Spit Road back toward the high school, where he finished in first place.

Swim and dive starts up this week with the Homer Invite on Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10. Dive competes on Friday evening starting at 5 p.m. and swim kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

While the season has not officially started yet, the team hosted their annual triathlon fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 3, attracting competitors from within Homer as well as out-of-town to compete in a grueling course. Competitors first swam 1,000 yards in the Homer pool, then biked 15 miles up the East Hill to West Hill loop and to the end of the Spit, then ran 5 miles from the Spit to the high school.

“It went well. It was much more stressful last year because I had never been involved in organizing it and I didn’t know what to expect,” said Homer High School swim and dive head coach Will Roedl. “This year I came into it much more relaxed. There are things to improve, but it went smoothly.”

The triathlon is an important fundraiser for the team, which depends on the money raised, as well as participation fees and money earned from working booster events, to cover travel costs each season. The triathlon raised about $1,200, Roedl said. The team’s travel this year includes going to Kodiak for regions and Juneau for state, trips that will cost a few thousand dollars each, he said.

Roedl, who is in his second year of coaching swim and dive at the high school, hopes to improve overall participation in the future. This year’s triathlon had 10 individual male competitors, 10 individual female competitors and six teams, making a total of 26 entries. Teams are comprised of three people who each do a section of the triathlon relay-style. Roedl would like to see at least 30 entries in next year’s triathlon. Advertising for the triathlon has not been as strong in recent years, so most people from outside of Homer who attend knew about it in the past or heard about it through word of mouth.

“I want to advertise in Anchorage so people know ahead of time and can train for it. Not many can do it straight off the couch,” Roedl said.

The first to complete this year’s race was an out-of-town competitor who enjoys doing triathlons named Mick Bakker, Roedl said. Bakker finished all three events in 1 hour, 32 minutes and 34 seconds. Homer High School senior Kane Graham came in second with a time of 1 hour, 58 minutes and 6 seconds. Graham is a returning swimmer on the swim and dive team and though he is not a year-round swimmer, he works hard to stay in shape for the season, Roedl said. Lauren Kuhns finished first in the women’s category and placed third overall, coming in just three seconds behind Graham.

Other seniors on the swim and dive team are swimmer Kuhns who went to state last year and trains year-round and divers Spencer Warren and Rhythm Beckett-Cook. Beckett-Cook also attended states last year. Senior McCalister is joining the swim team for his first year in competitive swim, and makes up for lack of experience with enthusiasm.

Roedl is emphasizing a team mentality this year and stressed that no member of the team is more valuable than another.

“They’re all people to look out for. Time, age, none of the that matters,” Roedl said. “They all have equal opportunity to help or hurt the team.”

Roedl is structuring the team a little differently this year by having swim and dive work more closely together. Swimmers and divers have practices together, and so far it is going well.

“Last year diving was treated like not the same team. We have a new dive and assistant coach and the focus as coaches is to emphasize that swim and dive is the same team,” Roedl said. “We’re all scoring points for the same team and school at the same meets.”

Anna Frost can be reached at anna.frost@homernews.com.

 

Homer Triathlon Results

Men:

1. Mick Bakker, 1:32:34

2. Kane Graham, 1:58:06

3. John Roedl, 2:08:55

4. Theodore Handly, 2:18:44

5. Jakob Nelson, 2:22:35

6. Peter Roedl, 2:26:33

7. Willem Strydom, 2:30:30

8. Spencer Warren, 2:49:28

9. Theodore Castellani, 2:52:39

10. Scott Glosser, 3:02:45

Women:

1. Lauren Kuhns, 1:58:09

2. Mandy Hawes, 2:07:28

3. Kali Glosser, 2:08:23

4. Katra Wedeking, 2:08:51

5. Ann Bruner, 2:15:00

6. Ingrid Harrald, 2:37:01

7. Ori Badajos, 2:37:02

8. Solstice Kraszeski, 2:41:46

9. Iris Downey, 3:42:12

10. Louise Delmas, 3:57:19

Teams:

1. Fluffy Unicorns: Luke Nelson, Renae Blanton and Peter Syth: 2:06:32

2. Triple Threat: Erika Kahill, Rachel Cella, Jessica Johnson, 2:14:58

3. The Jelly Fish: Carly Nelson, Sonja Nelson, Keri Syth, 2:18:14

4. 2021: Madison Story, Ella Blanton-Yourkowski, Mckenzy Johnson, 2:25:22

5. HHS1: Alia Bales, Aaron Mcallister, Judith Stewart, 2:52:32

6. HHS2: Hyram Kirkpatrick, Jazmine Martin, Elizabeth Love, 3:18:30

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