It was only fitting that one of the closest races of the 2012 state high school swim championships on Saturday was the first event of the day, the Girls 200-Yard Medley Relay.
It was even more fitting that a senior touched the wall to win for her school.
“It was really cool,” Talyn Ramos said of her finish. “I didn’t even look up at the scoreboard or anything because I didn’t want to know, it was so close. I just looked up at my team to see their reaction, and I saw them jumping up and I was like ‘yes, we did it.”
It was also fitting for Ramos to touch the wall for someone special. Ramos stated the team, as it has all season, were swimming for close friend and teammate Savannah Cayce who died in a tragic accident at Auke Lake last summer.
“It has been really emotional for us as a team this year,” Ramos said. “I am glad we were able to pull that together and come out strong for her. Right before we were walking up to the blocks we did our little prayer and then we said ‘Savannah’ really loud before we walked up. It was a really hard thing for our team but we did pretty well over the season despite what we were going through and the fact that a lot of us were struggling with that emotion the whole season makes this really special.”
Ramos hadn’t hit a 24-second split all season, and nailed one on Saturday. The JDHS girls won in 1:49.00, edging Dimond’s 1:49.26 and Ketchikan’s 1:49.69. Haley Mertz (backstroke), Dakota Isaak (breaststroke), Ciera Kelly (fly), and Ramos (free) claimed bragging rights for the year and for a friend.
“I knew I was last and was just watching them come in,” Ramos said of the race. “I was hoping we were getting going. As I stepped up to the block I was thinking that I needed to do this and if I touch second I will be really disappointed. I was nervous, but excited, this was my last one and emotional.”
All the Crimson Bears and Falcons swimmers, especially new state champions Jonah Swanson, a JDHS senior, and Kenny Fox, a TMHS sophomore, turned in spectacular efforts.
“I am pretty proud of myself,” Swanson said of his 100 Breaststroke win. “I tried to get in the correct mind set.”
Swanson was seeded seventh out of eight swimmers and pointers from coaches about foot position were gleaned.
“My mind set was questionable at best,” Swanson said. “I didn’t know if I was going to win or not. The girl that raced in lane one before me won, and I was in lane one, so I was pumped about that. The lane was hot and ready to go.”
Swanson touched with a 1:01.50, a personal best time, edging West Valley swimmer Tommy O’Donoghue’s 1:01.52 for the state title.
“After I realized that I was first by that margin I kind of freaked out in the water,” Swanson said. “It was just a lot of joy, a lot of joy.”
Fox made history for the Falcons, giving TMHS its first state championship by the narrowest of margins.
“I feel amazing,” Fox said of his personal best 100 Fly winning time of 52.25 over Dimond’s Erik Wilcox (52.28) and Ketchikan’s Merek Corporon (53.01). “All I was thinking about as I approached the blocks was that I wanted to go out fast and I wanted to race to the finish. It hasn’t fully sunk in yet. I was pretty excited when I saw my name with the “1” next to it. That really got me going. I have to thank all my coaches and the team for making this a fun trip. They pushed me and it has really helped a lot in my swimming career.”
Other swims included JDHS’ Isaak taking second in the 100 Breast and seventh in the 50 Free, Ciera Kelly second in the 100 Fly and fourth in the 200 Free, T. Ramos took seventh in the 100 Free, Mertz took seventh in the 100 Back and 200 IM, Swanson was fifth in the 200 IM,
TMHS’ Hannah Brockman was sixth in the 200 IM and seventh in 100 Fly, Thane O’Brien fifth in 100 Breast and eighth in the 50 Free, Jimmie Busch seventh 100 Free, and Trevor Jones eighth 100 Back.
The Falcons Matt Seagren placed in one of the top all-time southeast finishes for diving with fourth, another mark in the TMHS record book.
IDEA’s Jordan Davis finished fourth in the 500 Freestyle.
The JDHS girls finished fifth in the 400 Free Relay and eighth in the 200 relay.
The TMHS boys took third in the 200 Free Relay, the top Southeast finish in that event, and sixth in the 200 Medley Relay, won by Sitka.
“Our coaching staff is very happy with how the team swam this weekend,” TMHS coach Jason Wilson said in a sentiment echoed by both teams coaches.
“The kids swam amazing,” JDHS assistant coach Scott Jones added.
Kodiak took the girls team title with 100 points, Dimond was second with 79, 3rd Kayhi 78, 4th JDHS 55, and 15th TMHS 5, 15th Petersburg 5. Twenty teams swam.
Dimond topped the boys field with 131 points, Sitka was second with 67, 3rd Kodiak 49, TMHS 4th 47, 5th Petersburg 44, 9th Kayhi 20, 11th JDHS and Craig 13, and IDEA 5. Twenty teams swam.
The Crimson Bears boys won the sportsmanship award.
The biggest award, however, was saved for last.
“We have a team dinner,” senior Talyn Ramos said. “And we have a tradition of, later tonight, about 11 or midnight, we go to Taco Bell. And I think this year we are going to Dairy Queen too. I am definitely excited.”