Swimmers, divers seeing their hard work pay off

It’s only natural that an entire season’s worth of practice would get a team to its peak performance. With just one week until Regions, which Homer will host, the Mariners’ swim and dive team has put discipline and dedication at the top of their list.

Last week’s three-day meet at Palmer saw the Mariners at their peak performance with best times across the board for the swim team, and a new school record set for the dive team.

“It was an amazing meet, simply amazing,” said Head Swim Coach Rebecca Hardy. “Every single one of them rocked this meet.”

A swim meet comprised of 13 schools, the chances to make it into the consolation or final round slims down. Despite the weakening odds, almost every swimmer on the Mariner team qualified for at least the consolation round and many went on to the final round.

James Nagle had the team’s best placing of the weekend with third place in the 100M butterfly with a time of 57.40 seconds. Nagle’s time was only a sixth of a second behind the second place finisher from Soldotna, and less than a minute behind the first place finisher from Kodiak.

Some amazing best times were done by Greg Smith who dropped from 2:31.01 as his previous best time in the 200M IM to 2:25.65 at the Palmer meet, a total of 5.36 seconds.

Kaveh Anderson, in his first year swimming, dropped his best time in the 100M backstroke by a full seven seconds. A special feat, Hardy said, because Anderson has been practicing with one arm for the past three weeks due to a sore shoulder, and to drop a best time by such an incredible amount coming out of an injury is nearly unheard of.

“I feel very accomplished. Seven seconds in 100 meters is a lot, and it is more than I expected,” said Anderson. 

His goal for Regions is to shave off another second to break 29 seconds in the 50M freestyle, an event he also received his best time in last weekend.

On the female side of the team, Lydia Arndt, in her senior year, swam some of her best swims of her career. She qualified for the consolation round in the 100M butterfly, taking seventh. Teammate Cheyanne Smith received one of the weekend’s highest placing with fourth in the 200M IM with a time of 2:29.80.

Fellow teammate and first year Mariner swimmer Jordyn Wickstrom attributes much of the team’s success last weekend to its close bond.

“We have so much team support which pushes us to swim faster,” said Wickstrom.

Hardy agreed.

“These kids have worked incredibly hard together to get to where they are today. They are seeing that the effort they have put into practice is paying off.”

Effort and hard work is a synonymous theme with the dive team. 

Under Head Dive Coach Harmon Hall’s guidance, his Region competitors of three boys and two girls, are busy perfecting their 11 dives for the upcoming meet.

“The team is getting where they need to be right now,” said Hall.

Those same divers took to the diving boards at Palmer last Thursday, walking away with a number of best scores. Most notable is Brian Rowe, whose score of 362.05 placed him second, broke the high school record of 361 set by alumni Garrett Hall last year.

“It feels good knowing that I am the best diver that has ever been at Homer High School,” said Rowe. “But the competition is still tight for Regions. I’ll be competing against three other divers who are at the same level as me.”

Rowe took second at Regions and eighth at State last year. This year, in his third year of diving, he is looking to improve his standings. His main competition will be from Kenai and Palmer, he said.

“Brian has a good chance of being in the top three or top five at State if he is clean in all his dives,” said Hall.

Jasmine Lewis, in her second year of diving, got her best score of 312.95 at an 11-dive meet. It was Lewis’ first time breaking a 300 score.

Katherine Dolma came in sixth place, and first year diver Ian Hall was only two points shy of continuing into the final round.

The top two divers from each region will continue on to State. In the past, Hall has traditionally taken the most number of divers from a single school to State competition. The hope this year is to continue that tradition, and with a team like Hall’s, the odds are good.

The end is near for the swim and dive season, but the work is not done yet. The teams have a week off before Regions to be held at Homer High School on Oct. 25, 26, and 27.

According to Hardy, “There is some real work ahead of us.”


Valley Invitational

Saturday, Palmer Pool

Girls’ team scores: 

1, Kodiak 114. 2, Soldotna 53. 3, Palmer 49. 4, Kenai Central 41. 5, Seward 29. 6, North Pole 12. 6, Anchorage Christian 12. 8, Homer 9. 9, Valdez 5. 10, Skyview 2. 10, Colony 2. 

Homer girls individual results:

200M IM — 4. Cheyanne Smith, 2:29.80; 10. Lydia Arndt, 2:46.13

1M Dive — 2. Jasmine Lewis, 312.95; 8. Katherine Dolma, 213.25

100M Butterfly — 7. Lydia Arndt, 1:15.91

100M Backstroke — 8. Cheyanne Smith, 1:10.62


Boys team scores: 

1, Kodiak 107. 2, Soldotna 57. 3, Colony 51. 4, North Pole 39. 5, Palmer 25. 6, Kenai Central 15. 7, Homer 12. 8, Valdez 10. 9, Cordova 6. 10, Nome Beltz 3. 11, Wasilla 2.


Homer boys Individual results:

200M Freestyle —7. Mark Nagle, 2:01.57; 12. Cyrus Cowan, 2:16.45

200M IM — 8. Greg Smith, 2:25.65

1M Dive —  2. Brian Rowe, 362.05

100M Butterfly — 3. James Nagle, 57.40

500M Freestyle — 6. Mark Nagle, 5:32.86, 8. Greg Smith, 5:48.85

100M Backstroke — 8. Cyrus Cowan, 1:10.08

400M Freestyle Relay — 6. James Nagle, Mark Nagle, Cyrus Cowan, Greg Smith, 3:54.12