From the first event of the day the Juneau-Douglas girls swim and dive team made a statement to the Ketchikan girls that this was their Region V swim and dive championship meet.
“Oh my gosh,” JDHS senior Auri Clark exclaimed. “They tried to beat us a couple times this season so we kept our same relay of girls. Hopefully we can win again next weekend at state. This was my most important race because we got a record today and are close to a state record. That state record was set by some really fast senior girls and this relay has underclassmen on it so I am really happy for them.”
The Crimson Bears and the Kings, the two fastest 200-yard medley relay teams in the state, churned through the water and fan acclamation to open the 2011 Region V Swim and Dive Championships at Dimond Park Aquatic Center.
JDHS set a Region V meet record with one minute 48.77 seconds with sophomore Haley Mertz starting in backstroke, freshman Dakota Isaak following in breaststroke, Clark next in fly and freshman Ciera Kelly closing out the swim in freestyle.
JDHS won the girls championship title with 162 points to Ketchikan’s 145, Petersburg finished third with 64, TMHS fourth with 62, Sitka fifth with 46, Craig sixth with 19, Metlakatla seventh with 14 and Haines in eighth with 10.
The JDHS girls also set a region meet record in the 200 freestyle relay with 1:40.03.
In one of the closest races of the meet Isaak won the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.54 over Ketchikan’s Kassandra Klose with 1:08.90.
Ketchikan’s Janelle Stacey set a meet record in the 100 butterfly in 56.44 with Kelly second in 58.78.
Stacey also set a state, meet and region record in the 100 backstroke with 56.33 and Mertz was second in 1:00.12.
TMHS divers Hunter Nicholson and Carmen Smith had strong showings in third and fifth respectively, with 241.80 and 227.90 points.
“I kind of expected the kids would do what they have been doing,” JDHS head coach Kathrine Millhorn said. “They have their heads in the game. The big surprise to the kids was Clarissa Ullmayer’s freestyle. She had an awesome swim.”
Ullmayer won the girls endurance race, the 500 freestyle, in 5:36.3 but the race the team noted was her third place finish in the 200 free with a personal best time of 2:03.28. Clark was just ahead in second with 2:02.67 while Ketchikan’s Maddy Stephens won in 1:59.25.
On the boy’s side Thunder Mountain boys swim and dive team did everything they could possibly do to win the Region V title.
“Lots of practice,” Falcons’ freshman Kenny Fox said. “That’s how we did this. A lot of hard work. We are going to have fun at state and swim fast.”
The Falcons fell just one point shy of the region crown, losing to Sitka 106-105. Petersburg finished third with 104 points, Ketchikan fourth with 86, Craig fifth with 57, Juneau-Douglas sixth at 56, Metlakatla seventh with 12 and Haines in eighth with one point.
Fox finished second in the 50 freestyle to Craig’s Brent O’Connor 22.87 to 22.89. Teammate Thane Reishus-O’Brien was third in 23.11.
The TMHS boys 200 relay claimed first over Sitka with a time of 1:33.33 to 1:33.47 with Craig third at 1:33.99.
“We were seeded fourth,” TMHS head coach Jason Wilson said. “Those were really important points for our club, and that is a trip to state for that relay team which is pretty awesome.”
Also awesome was TMHS diver Matthew Seagren’s first place win of 350.20 points. JDHS’ Keith Andrews was second with 335.20.
“It was pretty close,” Seagren said. “I was hoping to get this since I finished third last year. State is going to be awesome.”
JDHS’ Nathan Messing, sporting a full back tattoo of black marker, set a meet record n the 100 backstroke in 53.05 with Sitka’s Louis Belley second in 54.32 and Petersburg’s Evan Marsh third with 58.55.
Messing also won the 100 butterfly in 53.94 over Fox in 54.01.
“I was kind of worried there,” Messing said. “My goggles filled up with water. I just kept swimming strong. That was the best I have ever swam in this event. I think I can improve on it. Kenny and I are having a fun rivalry. I can’t wait to watch him swim at state.”
TMHS’ Calder Otsea claimed the 100 freestyle in 49.9, streaking to a state berth in his fastest swim ever.
“I have never won an event at regional’s before,” Otsea said. “I felt really good. I am really happy. I have never qualified for state, this is pretty exciting.”
The dramatic scoring came down to the last boy’s event, the 400-yard freestyle relay. Petersburg won in 3:21.52 with Sitka second in 3:22.84 and TMHS 3:25.
JDHS and TMHS swimmers will now wait to see the final standings from the other regions to see who qualified for the state tournament next weekend in Anchorage.