Young swimmers prove their worth in Juneau

Just after Valentine’s Day, 19 swimmers and two coaches from the Kachemak Swim Club (KSC) in Homer made their way to Juneau. After some snow and route diversions, all arrived at the Alaska Age Group Swimming Championships ready to race their peers from across the state.

The meet started off on Friday morning, Feb. 16, with KSC 11 to 14-year-olds competing in 28 races. Energy was high and athletes were eager to get to the top eight in their age group to qualify to race in afternoon finals. One KSC swimmer, Nathan Overson, tied for eighth place in the 50 meter backstroke. He competed in a swim-off race against a Kodiak swimmer for the chance to swim in finals and won, earning his place to swim again later in the day.

Another highlight from the morning was Bristol Johnson competing in the 200 backstroke, shaving 7.5 seconds off her personal best time.

At midday, two KSC 10-year-olds raced in four races. They were excited by the large pool, the chance to swim in lanes 7 and 8 and the sight of water slides, a lazy river, and buckets in the aquatic facility.

Friday finals proved successful for KSC swimmers in 11 individual races and three relays. Many of them raced faster than ever before and placed well among their peers. Highlights include: Adeline Berry in the 100 butterfly, Elsa Milne in the 100 freestyle, Luke Nelson in the 100 fly, and the third place finish of the girls’ 14-year-old 400 freestyle relay of Ella Blanton-Yourkowski, Adeline Berry, Kira Milne and Madison Story.

Saturday morning, Brianna Miller swam the 50 freestyle race in 32.53 seconds, dropping over a second from her best time.

Saturday midday, Mckenna Carlin had a stellar race in the 50 freestyle, racing to a best time of 35.33 seconds. Sara Nollar swam fast in the 100 breaststroke, dropping 10 seconds.

An exciting Saturday final was elated by the 200 breaststroke. Story came from behind to out touch Aurora Swim Team from Anchorage by 0.06 to win. Other highlights include: Jody Goodrich in the 50 breaststroke for eighth graders, Hartley Miller taking eighth in the 200 breaststroke and Skyler Rodriguez finishing seventh in the 500 freestyle. Goodrich swam to a fourth place finish in the 50 breaststroke.

Sunday, Feb. 18 was the third and final day for the championship meet. KSC had 32 races in the morning, including three relays. The girls 11-12-year-old 200 free relay of Miller, Milne, Annabelle Franciscone and Carly Nelson swam fast and placed ninth overall in their age group. The boys’ 200 free relay of Luke Nelson, Overson, Nollar and Lucas Story also finished fourth.

Sunday final highlights from the 14 races include, Hazel Pearson, Annabelle Franciscone, and Milne packed the finals in the 11-year-old 100 breaststroke.

Overall, the Kachemak Swim Club had a great meet competing against Alaskan swimmers, The team finished in 7th place overall. To see a complete list of results, visit Coming up, they host a home meet on March 2 and 3 at the Kate Kuhns Aquatic Center. Also, six of KSC’s Senior team will be traveling to Portland for the huge Region 12 Championship meet. Go Kings!

Thad Gunther is the swim coach at Homer High School.