The Bartlett High School swimming pool has been good to Kodiak.
Kodiak’s girls have celebrated a pair of state championships and several individual titles in the past two years at the Anchorage pool.
They won’t get that chance this season; Kodiak will still win its share of titles, but not at Bartlett. This year’s state swimming and diving championships have moved to the state capital and begin this morning at 10 o’clock at the Dimond Park Aquatic Center in Juneau.
“It is going to be a little different,” junior Ila Hughes said, “but I think our swims and how we do will be the same.”
Hughes and junior teammate Tahna Lindquist made a lot of memories at Bartlett. The dominant duo teamed together as freshmen to bring Kodiak its first state swimming championship. They did it again as sophomores last year. Over the past two seasons, they have combined to win four individual and three relay titles and have yet to be beaten at the state meet.
“I’ve swam at the Bartlett pool since I was little so I know the walls, I know the blocks,” Lindquist said, “and going into Juneau I have never swam at that pool. I will definitely have to practice my turns, but otherwise a pool is a pool.”
The pool could be filled with chocolate and Lindquist and Hughes would still zoom to the finish. Both are not only looking to defend titles, but to also post senior national cut times that would qualify them for bigger meets.
‘They are looking to go swim with the big dogs of the country,” Kodiak coach John Lindquist said.
Tahna Lindquist is the two-time defending champion in the 200-yard individual medley and the 500 freestyle. She set a state record in the IM last year (2 minutes, 6.63 seconds) and just missed it in the 500 (4:57.06). She enters today’s preliminary heats three seconds faster than her closest competitor in the IM and 14 seconds quicker in the 500.
“I focus on my race and the times I want to get,” Tahna said. “For me it is not necessarily beating somebody else, it is more personal.”
Hughes is the two-time defending champion in the 50 and 100 freestyles. She set the 100 free state record (50.62) last year and hopes to lower that this year. She will also be swimming the 200 freestyle instead of the 50 and is gunning to become the first girl in Alaska to finish under 1:50. She went 1:53.30 at regions last week.
“It was a really hard decision for me, but I didn’t want to do the 50 because it was just making me frustrated and mad. I just wanted to get away from it for awhile,” Hughes said.
Hughes also has a nice cushion in both of her events and is the clear favorite to win. Being out front, though, is lonely.
“You just have to keep telling yourself to go and tell yourself that you are racing the clock,” said Hughes, who is also teaming with Lindquist in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Even with Hughes and Lindquist, Kodiak’s chances of claiming a third consecutive team title are slim. The Bears only qualified five swimmers and one diver to state, which leaves Juneau and Dimond as the frontrunners.
“We just don’t have the depth to score the points to do it,” said John Lindquist said. “The girls can’t go any higher than first.”
Brittany Horne (200, 500 freestyle and 200 and 400 freestyle relay), Illa Macinko (200 individual medley, 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle relay), Elinore Millstein (400 free relay) and Tessa Heiberg (1-meter diving) also qualified for state.
Lindquist believes the team will battle with Eagle River for third.
“That is a good doable battle,” he said. “Hopefully, we can make that happen.”
The 200 freestyle relay team that was disqualified for a bad exchange at regions last week put to bed any hopes Kodiak had of winning a state title.
“That kind of hurt us a whole lot,” Lindquist said.
With the relay, the boys would have been in a tight battle with five other schools for the championship.
“You don’t cry about it, whine about it, you just move on and set new goals and go after it,” Lindquist said.
Juniors Blake James (100 breaststroke and 200 freestyle) and Dyton Schauff (100 backstroke and 100 freestyle) and sophomore Nicholas Lincoln (200 IM and 100 butterfly) all have the potential to produce podium finishes.
Those three, plus Nathan Schauff will also be swimming in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.
River Hanson (500 freestyle), Jonas Anderson (100 butterfly), Max Mutch (100 breaststroke) and Dan Lambert (500 freestyle) also qualified for state.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kodiak state qualifiers
200-yard freestyle — 1.Ila Hughes, 1 minute, 53.30 seconds; 13. Brittany Horne, 2:04.05. 200 individual medley — 1. Tahna Lindquist, 2:05.33; 16. Illa Macinko, 2:26.94. 100 freestyle — 1. Ila Hughes, 51.38. 500 freestyle — 1. Tahna Lindquist, 5:00.20; 8. Brittany Horne, 5:29.33. 100 backstroke — 15. Illa Macinko, 1:04.91. 1-meter diving — 14. Tessa Heiberg, 264.30 points.
200 freestyle relay — 2. Kodiak. 400 freestyle relay — 1. Kodiak.
100 butterfly — Roslyn Kreigh, 1:07.14. 500 freestyle — Elinore Millstein, 5:50.83.
200 freestyle — 5. Blake James, 1:49.29; 14. River Hanson, 1:53.90. 200 IM — 3. Nicholas Lincoln, 2:00.71. 100 butterfly — 3. Nicholas Lincoln, 53.33; 9. Jonas Anderson, 54.90. 100 freestyle — 5. Dyton Schauff, 49.25; T13. Nathan Schauff, 51.10. 500 freestyle — 13. River Hanson, 5:11.93; 16. Dan Lambert, 5:15.56. 100 backstroke — 2. Dyton Schauff, 54.32; 8. Nathan Schauff, 57.59. 100 breaststroke — 6. Blake James, 1:03.10; 14. Max Mutch, 1:06.32.
200 medley relay — 3. Kodiak. 400 freestyle relay — 8. Kodiak.
200 freestyle — Dan Lambert, 1:57.41. 100 freestyle — Max Mutch, 51.74. 100 breaststroke — Sam Kirchenschlager, 1:08.35.