By McKibben Jackinsky
The Mariners swim and dive team moved a step closer to Regions competition with last weekend’s 2014 Valley Invite.
In team score in Palmer, the Kodiak Bears boys and girls teams led the competition. Of 12 girls teams competing, the Mariners placed 10th with 7.5 points. The Mariner boys came in fourth out of 11 teams, with 17 points.
Some technical problems plagued the event. Namely, a new scoreboard suffered some glitches, so “we had to do everything by hand,” said Harmon Hall, the Mariners head dive coach. In spite of the problems, it was an “A-Game” weekend for the swim team, according to Scott Smith, the Mariners head swim coach.
“For the third straight week, the Mariner swimmers had an 80 percent best-time performance, meaning 80 percent of the races swum were personal best times,” said Smith. “I’m really proud of how they came to this meet not wanting to get pushed around by the powerhouse teams of Kodiak, Colony and Soldotna. They didn’t show any intimidation at all.”
Watching the team compete is one of the “best perks of being a coach,” according to Smith, who also credited Assistant Coach Neil Romney for his work with the team.
“His experience and technical knowledge is having a great impact on how our team is performing,” said Smith.
Swimmer Cheyanne Smith had a “break-through” meet, dropping almost four seconds in the 100 breast, placing third with a time of 1:15.91. She also placed seventh in the 50 free at 27.57, another personal best
Griffin Downey chalked up best-time swims in each of four individual swims. He placed fifth in the 200 IM with a finish time of 2:20.72 and seventh in the 100 breast with a time of 1:10.74.
“It will be fun to watch him continue to develop and become one of the top swimmers in the state. He’s a true student of the sport and has a great work ethic,” said Smith.
Lauren Kuhn’s finish time of 1:09.60 gave her a seventh-place finish in the 100 back and her 2:11.02 earned her eighth in the 200 free.
“She didn’t leave anything in her tank in either of those races,” said Smith. “She never does.”
Coming off a three-week injury and not being in top shape, freshman Aurora Shadle scored fourth place in the 50 free with 27.61.
“She’s going to be a very good swimmer,” said Smith
Remi Nagle took fifth in the 100 fly with 57.96 and ninth in the 50 free. Leo Castellani scored 10th in the 100 fly, with a time of 1:04.44, and Thomas Vanek secured 12th in the 200 IM at 2:40.71.
Finally cleared after injuring his shoulder, Greg Smith was back in the water after six weeks. With two days of practice, he swam into seventh place in the 100 back at 1:00.59 and 11th in the 50 free with 24.66, both best times.
In diving competition, Ren Carrol’s score of 310.80 in the one-meter dive gave him a fourth place. Also in the one-meter dive, Annali Metz had a sixth-place with 231.35.
With the Palmer dive sheets in hand, Hall is now hard at work preparing the dive team for upcoming Regions competition. Representing Homer High on the diving board will be Annali Metz, Kimberly Bates, Ren Carrol, Ian Hall, Spencer Warren and Danny Wiest.
“They have to score there in order to go to State,” said Hall of points between 250-260 in Soldotna.
While he anticipates high scores from Carrol and Ian Hall, if Hall’s years coaching the Mariner team have taught him anything, it’s never to count anybody out. Or in, for that matter.
“You can have a bad dive. I’ve seen it happen many a time,” he said, recalling a past dive of a Soldotna competitor. “One of his dives was straight, but he bent a little bit in the waist and the judges called it a ‘pike’ and he failed the dive.”
Region III Championships are in Soldotna Oct. 30-Nov. 1.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2014 Valley Invite
1. Kodiak, 88.5; 2. Soldotna, 67; 3. Colony, 51; 4. Palmer, 40; 5. Valdez, 20; 6. North Pole, 19; 7. Hutchinson, 16; 8. Kenai, 9; 9. Lathrop, 8; 10, Homer, 7.5; 11. Wasilla, 2; 12. Monroe, 1; 12. Seward, 1
Homer girls individual results
200 yard freestyle: 8. Lauren Kuhns, 2:11.02
50 freestyle: 4. Aurora Shadle, 27.61; 7. Cheyanne Smith, 27.57;
1 meter diving: 6, Annali Metz, 231.35;
100 yard backstroke: 7. Lauren Kuhns, 1:09.60;
100 breaststroke: 3. Cheyanne E. Smith, 1:15.91.
1. Kodiak, 123; 2. Soldotna, 64; 3. Colony, 62; 4, Lathrop, 17; 4. Homer, 17; 6. North Pole, 16; 7. Kenai, 11; 8. Wasilla, 7; 9, Palmer, 6; 10, Valdez, 5; 11, Unalaska High School, 2.
Homer boys individual results
200 medley relay: 3. Homer, 1:50.13;
200 IM: 5. Griffin Downey, 2:20.72; 12. Thomas Vanek, 2:40.71
50 yard freestyle: 9. Remi Nagle, 24.34; 11. Greg Smith, 24.66;
1 meter diving: 4, Ren Carrol, 310.80;
100 butterfly: 5, Remi Nagle, 57.96; 10. Leo Castellani, 1:04.44;
200 yard backstroke: 7. Greg Smith, 1:00.96
100 yard breaststroke: 7. Griffin Downey, 1:10.74;
400 freestyle relay: 6. Homer, 4:07.75.