Kodiak won its first state team title in dominating fashion Saturday at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Swimming and Diving Championship at Bartlett High School.
The Bears blitzed the field, collecting four individual victories and one relay victory, tallying 118 points — 37 points ahead of runner-up Ketchikan.
The first state title in school history comes in Kodiak’s 35th season, and it also comes after the Bears were close the last two years.
“There is a certain satisfaction that you know you have been working very hard at it and know what it takes to win it and to finally do it in the fashion that we did today it makes it really special,” Kodiak coach John Lindquist said Saturday evening at the Kodiak State Airport.
Lindquist and assistant coach Dave Horne greeted each girl with a celebratory high five as she entered the terminal.
And even though it was nearing midnight, the girls were still beaming with smiles.
“It is just a good feeling,” senior Celeste Beck-Goodell said. “Everybody is really happy.”
Beck-Goodell scored a pair of seconds in the 200-yard individual medley and in the 500 freestyle.
She also teamed with Jori and Tahna Lindquist and Ila Hughes to win the 400 freestyle relay in 3 minutes, 33.88 seconds — the second-fastest time recorded in Alaska.
“It was what you always want from a senior captain for a final meet,” John said.
Beck-Goodell was one of four at state this year who saw a title slip away from them last year by one point.
“They really wanted this and worked for it,” freshman Ila Hughes said. “A lot of them were crying, which is good because it means they really cared. I’m glad that we got to be a part of it.”
Hughes and fellow freshman Tahna were a huge part of Kodiak’s victory.
The two combined for four individual state titles and 54 of Kodiak’s 118 points.
“They stepped up,” John said.
Hughes won the 50 and 100 freestyle with times of 23.88 and 51.67.
“During the prelims I placed second in both of them and I was real scared, and then when it got to the finals I was even more nervous, but I pulled it off,” Hughes said.
“It means a lot. It was a great experience. My team supported me and I couldn’t do it without them. My coach really worked with me and it just really means a lot to me.”
Tahna won the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle in times of 1:56.21 and 5:10.40.
She barely edged Beck-Goodell in the 500 and knew she would be challenged in the 200 IM.
“I had a lot of competition in that one, so on my worst stroke (breaststroke), I just had to really push hard on that one, which got me ahead,” Tahna said.
Overall, Kodiak had 12 top-eight finishes, while six girls scored at least one point.
Diver Sophie Hogen barely missed a state title, finishing second by only 11.3 points.
“Normally, state is boring and everyone is focused and nervous, but we did good,” Jori said. “We managed to have fun. I think that is why we did so well. We were relaxed.”
John considers this team one of the better ones in Alaska history.
“It would be a good match with a lot of teams who have won state championships, because of the quality that we have throughout every event,” he said.
“It is a quality team and we have some girls now sprinkled throughout the top 12 of Alaska history. That is significant.”
John has been chasing a state title since he took the coaching job more than 10 years ago.
“We have reached the pinnacle of what you can reach in Alaska swimming as a team,” he said. “Hopefully, that will just keep building the success of the program.”
It took some time, but Kodiak finally got its state swimming title.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at sports@kodiak
Team (top 10)
1. Kodiak 118; 2. Ketchikan 81; 3. Dimond 68; 4. Juneau-Douglas 65; 5. East 43; 6. Service 31; 7. West Valley 29; 8. Chugiak 25; 9. Seward 17; 10. Homer 13.
200 medley relay — 4. Kodiak (Tahna Lindquist, Sammye Jones, Celeste Beck-Goodell, Megan Jester), 1:52.50. 200 freestyle — 2. Jori Lindquist, 1:56.21. 200 individual medley — 1. Tahna Lindquist, 2:10.30; 2. Celeste Beck-Goodell, 2:12.24; 7. Sammye Jones, 2:16.46. 50 freestyle — 1. Ila Hughes, 23.88. 1-meter diving — 2. Sophie Hogen, 344.35 points. 100 freestyle — 1. Ila Hughes, 51.67; 7. Megan Jester, 56.08. 500 freestyle — 1. Tahna Lindquist, 5:10.40; 2. Celeste Beck-Goodell, 5:11.12. 200 freestyle relay — 2. Kodiak (Jori Lindquist, Megan Jester, Sammye Jones, Ila Hughes), 1:38.81. 100 backstroke — 4. Jori Lindquist, 59.13. 100 breaststroke — 6. Sammye Jones, 1:09.99. 400 freestyle relay — 1. Kodiak (Jori Lindquist, Tahna Lindquist, Celeste Beck-Goodell, Ila Hughes), 3:33.88.
200 IM —16. Ila Macinko, 2:29.37. 100 backstroke — 16. Ila Macinko, 1:06.94. 100 breaststroke —16. Shelby Dresdow, 1:16.02. 1-meter diving — 9. Jessa Fortaliza, 181.50; 12. Andie Wall, 169.45.