Juneau’s Glacier Swim Club had just 11 swimmers competing at last weekend’s Northwest Region 2012 Short Course Age Group Championships in Federal Way, Wash., but they came away with some big results. Competing against the top age group swimmers in the Western United States, the GSC 11 swimmers finished 31st out of 140 teams. Over 1300 swimmers were competing at the King County Weyerhaeuser Aquatic Center, which is the host for the 2012 Olympic Diving Trials in June and was recently the site of the men’s NCAA Swim/Dive Championships.
“I am very pleased with our swimmers,” GSC coach Scott Griffith said. “Dakota getting second in two races is pretty astonishing. We have never had a 14 or younger win an event, to be up there is impressive. She is only 14 and she swam the fastest time ever by anyone in the Glacier Swim Club. She swam pretty darn well.”
Isaak came within a half second of the Alaska state record in the 13/14 girl’s 100-breaststroke and within two seconds of the state record in the 200-breaststroke.
Isaak broke three Glacier Swim Club records: the 13/14 girl’s 100 breaststroke, the open girl’s 100-breaststroke, and the 13-14 girl’s 200 breaststroke. Isaak actually reset her own older club records. Isaak also set a club record in the 13-14 girl’s 400-Medley relay team with Taylor Beardslee, Mia Ruffin, and Kaia Hamrick. They also swam the 200-free relay and 400 free relay.
Isaak finishes were second in the 100-breaststroke (106.23) and 200-breaststroke (2:24.09) and fifth in the 50-freestyle (24.94), just a few tenths of a second shy of the club record.
“It was really exciting,” Isaak said. “I didn’t think I would get second in those races or fifth in the other one.”
This is Isaak’s fifth time competing in the Northwest Regions.
“It was really intimidating and scary my first couple of years,” Isaak said. “It is a huge pool and a lot of people, but I was more used to it this year so it wasn’t as bad. There are a lot of good swimmers though so it is tough.”
Isaak hopes to swim in college, preferably in Florida or Oregon.
“A swimming scholarship would be pretty cool,” Isaak said. “These are really important meets and this was my last year. Now I have to compete in senior sectionals.”
Isaak and her teammates competed at senior sectionals in early March, also in Federal Way, and Isaak posted qualifying times.
Isaak also qualified to swim the 100 and 200-breaststroke and the 50-freestyle at the Santa Clara Grand Prix meet in June, which will feature past Olympians Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, among others.
“I am definitely thinking about going to that one this summer,” Isaak said. “I will get some tough races in and there may be some college scouts there. And it is the only summer meet I have this year.”
Kenny Fox, age 15, won the 50-freestyle with a dominating 22.14 and qualified for Senior Sectionals in that event. The meet record was 21.80 and SS qualifying was 22.19. Even more impressive is that Fox was competing in the 15-18 age group.
Fox also finished second in the 100-butterfly (53.11), sixth in the 100-breaststroke (1:03.51) and eighth in the 400-Intermediate Medley (4:24.31).
“It is a lot different and competitive than Alaska,” Fox said. “With a lot faster swimmers. I have gone to this meet before and knew what to expect but I was still nervous.”
Bergen Davis, age 11, placed in the top eight with a seventh in the 100-Intermediate Medley (1:08.74), an eighth in the 50-backstroke (31.88), and an eighth in the 200-Intermediate Medley (2:28.11).
Haley Mertz, age 15, placed with an eighth in the 200-Intermediate Medley (2:14.60).
Mia Ruffin, age 13, placed seventh in the 200-breaststroke (2:31.97), and eighth in the 100-breaststroke (1:11.39). They also swam in multiple other events.
Other non-placing swimmers included Jorden Davis (200-free, 500-free, 200-back, 200-fly, 200-IM, 400-IM), Trevor Jones (200-back, 100-back, 100-fly), Evangelyn Pajarillo (50-breast, 100-breast, 100-IM, 50-free), and Thane Reishus-O’Brien (50-free, 100-breast), and Taylor Beardslee (100-back).
“The most important thing is they get to see what else is out there,” Griffith said. “You can be winning races in state and then you go down there and you realize there is always someone better. It is a good experience to motivate them to want to do better, rather than just win in southeast and Alaska. And it is an honor to go swim with those other kids.”
The Glacier Swim Club will conclude their short course season with the Alaska Junior Olympics in Anchorage on April 26-29.
“This is our season ending meet,” Griffith said. “We will probably be taking 50 kids up there that qualify.”