Swimmers replaced face masks for goggles Saturday morning at the Kodiak Community Swimming Pool.
For the first time since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic paused the sports scene, the Kodiak Kingfishers — the island’s youth swimming club — competed in a meet. It was only an intrasquad time trial but was a welcomed sight for the swimming community.
“As a coach, we are really just happy to be back in the water,” Kingfishers coach Maggie Rocheleau said.
The Kingfishers’ spring season was cut short when COVID hit, causing the team to miss several off-island championship events, including a trip for Max Robinson and Amaya Rocheleau to the Lower 48 for Northwest Age Groups. When mandates were lifted, the team’s summer season started. Rocheleau said practice resumed in June. Typically, the summer season ends with a few youths attending a meet in Anchorage. Not this year.
“This is the first time since I have been involved in Kingfishers that we have had a time trial specifically for our kids who trained during the summer,” she said. “In a normal year, it is great. In a COVID year, I can’t thank our volunteers and the parents for entrusting us with their kids.”
Of course, the meet looked a bit different than what it would have looked like before COVID. Before their events, swimmers sat in plastic chairs placed near the side of the pool to prevent congestion behind the blocks. When it was time to race, swimmers took off their masks, placed them in a ziplock bag, and put their goggles on. They put the masks back on upon emerging from the water.
After the 90-minute meet that included 26 swimmers, volunteers and coaches wiped down the bleachers and equipment used, like stopwatches and pencils.
“We will go back and reflect on what went well and what we need to improve,” Rocheleau said. “We are rolling with the punches.”
The meet concluded the summer season. Kingfishers will pick back up in a few months. The coach was pleased with how the swimmers bounced back after having their spring season shortened and being out of the water for a few months.
“Swimming has been an opportunity for them to have those relationships and provide an escape from the inundation of all things COVID — let’s just get out there, swim, and work hard,” Rocheleau said.
Rocheleau turns her focus to the Kodiak High School season, which begins Wednesday. The third-year coach expects to have 20 swimmers in the pool. With the school district imposing a travel ban through September, Rocheleau is hopeful competitions with other teams will be in the future. The swimming season ends in December.
“With swimming, we can submit our times virtually and do stuff to play up the rankings around the state,” she said. “These kids have relationships with their competitors from around the state, so they do a really good job of getting each other hyped up.”
25-yard backstroke — 1. Caarin Olson, 26.85 seconds; 2. Olivia Wood, 28.21. 25 freestyle — 1. Caarin Olson, 25.34; 2. Olivia Wood, 27.71.
100 freestyle — 1. Delaney Glenn, 1:23.38. 50 backstroke — 1. Aniston Krug, 44.92; 2. Freja Olson, 1:07.49. 50 breaststroke — 1. Madeline Hershberg, 44.05. 50 freestyle — 1. Madeline Hershberg, 34.69; 2. Lindy Glenn, 43.11; 3. Freja Olson, 1:04.40. 100 individual medley — 1. Sofia Wood, 1:21.51; 2. Aniston Krug, 1:36.77; 3. Delaney Glenn, 1:45.17.
100 freestyle — 1. Addi Rogers, 1:03.64. 100 backstroke — 1. Alicia Sarnowski, 1:05.04; 2. Amaya Rocheleau, 1:06.40; 3. Sofia Wood, 1:18.99. 100 breaststroke — 1. KK Rogers, 1:25.08; 2. Lindy Glenn, 1:52.97. 50 freestyle — 1. Alicia Sarnowski, 26.80; T2. Amaya Rocheleau, 27.65; T2. Addi Rogers, 27.65; 4. KK Rogers, 31.10.
100 freestyle — 1. Landen Alford, 1:22.24; 2. Luke Alford, 1:46.54. 50 backstroke — 1. Zane Rogers, 33.23; 2. Cody Hubert, 36.30; 3. Donovan Leinberger, 55.00; 4. Luke Alford, 55.79; 5. Kieran Hayden, 1:00.05. 50 freestyle — 1. Cody Hubert, 30.12; 2. Landen Alford, 35.76; 3. Kieran Hayden, 50.07; 4. Donovan Leinberger, 53.82. 100 individual medley — 1. Zane Rogers, 1:17.61.
100 freestyle — 1. Jackson Krug, 52.19; 2. Jacob Sarnowski, 56.13; 3. James Berestoff, 59.76. 100 backstroke — 1. Ian Rocheleau, 56.39; 2. Max Robinson, 1:01.17. 100 breaststroke — 1. Nick Carver, 1:05.01; 2. Max Jensen, 1:12.02; 3.Jacob Sarnowski, 1:13.67.