Many of the fastest high school swimmers in the state of Alaska were in town this weekend for a dual meet between Kodiak High School and Service High School from Anchorage.
The four close competitions over the weekend may be a preview of what the state championship will look like.
Kodiak’s boys team lost 80-79 on Friday, but took back a point Saturday to win by the same score.
The Kodiak girls had not faced any serious competition going into Friday’s meet. The team also had a 13-meet home winning streak.
Service broke the streak Friday by winning 93-91 and then won 94-91 Saturday.
Service is the team to beat this year, and an important team for Kodiak to face before the state championship, said Kodiak coach John Lindquist.
Service’s girls won the state title last year. The boys title went to Dimond.
“This is why we wanted this meet,” Lindquist said. “And (Service) wanted to do it as much as we did. This was it, exactly as advertised.”
Service has a deep team. The squad has about 50 athletes, including a junior varsity team that competed in another match this weekend instead of coming to Kodiak.
Service seldom attends meets outside of Anchorage, but the visiting athletes looked confident walking around Kodiak’s Community Swimming Pool wearing green warm-up jackets and swim caps with the team’s Cougar logo.
Kodiak’s boys team is particularly low on swimmers this year. With nine swimmers it’s the smallest team in recent memory. The team recently added Nathan Deer, who has swum for the team in previous seasons and also runs cross country.
Many of the Kodiak boys sported mohawks at the meet in a late-season expression of team unity.
Lindquist said distance swimmer Michael Smith had a particularly good meet Saturday. Smith had been wanting to crack 5 minutes and 10 seconds in the 500-yard freestyle. He did it Saturday with a time of 5:07:60.
Another notable performance came from Carl Burnside, who hit times around 2 minutes and 10 seconds in the 200 individual medley both Friday and Saturday.
On the girls’ side, Kodiak swam without two of its top swimmers Saturday. Senior Elyse Johnston missed Saturday’s meet to take the SATs, and senior Laura Griffing was gone all weekend for a college recruiting trip in Idaho.
But Service also did not bring one of its top swimmers, so the two meets may not be a bad predictor of what the state competition will look like.
Lindquist said despite the narrow defeats it was a good meet for the girls.
“The girls team as a whole had great swims across the board,” he said.
With three-time breast stroke state champion Griffing not in town, the weekend gave senior Myra Scholze and sophomore Sammye Jones a chance to step up in the event.
The two girls finished first and second in the event Saturday. Scholze swam a 1:09:02 and Jones followed with a 1:11:63.
Lindquist said it was also a particularly strong weekend for junior Megan Jester, who swam the 200 freestyle in 2:03:81 Saturday.
Saturday’s meet also included a rare tie in the 100 yard backstroke.
Kodiak sophomore Jori Lindquist and Service freshman Victoria Adams both touched the last wall with times of 1:01:08. The two swimmers have competed against each other for years in club competitions.
Kodiak’s team travels to Palmer next weekend. After a weekend off Kodiak hosts 13 teams for the regional swim meet.
Mirror writer Sam Friedman can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.