The Saturday of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Swim &Dive Championships had a familiar beginning for the Thunder Mountain High School boys swim &dive team.
It was the ending that was a brand new experience.
Just like the year before, the team got off to a hot start at the state meet, winning the 200-yard medley relay.
Fast forward to the end of this year’s meet at Bartlett High School in Anchorage, however, and the TMHS boys were standing atop the podium as team champions.
“I knew that was something that those boys had within them and I’m really glad to see they all stepped up and performed to the best of their abilities,” 21-year-old TMHS head coach Josiah Loseby said. “It was definitely something I knew was going to be tough but I wholeheartedly believed in them the entire way.”
Thunder Mountain finished with just three points ahead of second-place Dimond in the final standings.
“We were keeping track of the points the whole way and we knew that Casey (Hamilton) and Bergen (Davis) needed to get first in both of their events and then we had to get at least top-3 in that 400 (freestyle relay),” Loseby said.
That’s just what happened, too.
Hamilton won first in the 100-yard backstroke and Davis won first in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Raymie Matiashowski also took first in an individual event. Matiashowski sported a modest lead at the halfway mark of the 500-yard freestyle. At 400 yards, Matiashowski maintained the lead, but the race for second tightened. The two swimmers on either side of Falcons junior — including TMHS’ Chris Ray — were positioned at Matiashowski’s kicking feet.
Ray finished the race in second place, and just like 10 events earlier, the Falcons put two swimmers in the top 3.
Davis and Hamilton placed second and third, respectively, in the 200-yard individual medley, coming in behind only Kodiak’s Talon Lindquist. Lindquist set the new state record in the 200 IM, posting a time of 1 minute, 50.80 seconds.
Lindquist’s small lead through the halfway point of the 200 IM evaporated as Davis’s breaststroke — his strongest stroke — pulled him just about even with the Kodiak swimmer heading into the freestyle. Lindquist tore through the final 50 yards of the race though, widening his lead to three seconds by the end of it.
Davis gave him all he had — he shaved one second off his Region V Championship time and close to two seconds off his 200 IM time posted last year at the state championships.
Lindquist is now officially the fastest all-time Alaska high school swimmer in three events: the 200 freestyle, 200 IM and 100 backstroke.
The boys swim and dive win is a landmark for Thunder Mountain High School. Previously, the Falcons had won a state championship only in softball, securing the medium school’s title in both 2017 and 2016.
Juneau-Douglas High School had two swimmers make it to the final, junior Tate Goering and senior Andyn Mulgrew-Truitt. Mulgrew-Truitt placed eighth in the girls 50-yard freestyle while Goering placed sixth in the boys 200-yard freestyle.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.