Hundreds of the top young swimmers in Southeast Alaska will meet in Juneau this weekend for the Mike Smithers Southeast Regional Championships swim meet today through Sunday at Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool.
Meet host Glacier Swim Club expects about 250 swimmers age 7-18 will compete this weekend. The Southeast Regional Championships is a qualifying meet for the state's age-group championship and other area and zone meets later this year.
Juneau's Glacier Swim Club will have 86 athletes take to the water. Petersburg's Viking Swim Club will have 53 swimmers, the Ketchikan Killer Whales and Sitka's Baranof Barracuda Swim Club will both have 41 swimmers, the Haines Dolphins Swim Team will have 26 and the Craig Waverunners will have seven athletes at this meet.
This meet also will see the GSC debut of interim head coach Andrew Billings, who is a former high school coach from Fairbanks and a masters swim coach from Anchorage. Billings, who graduated from West Valley High School, still holds the state high school record in the 200-yard freestyle from 1985, the oldest state swim record on the books.
It also will see the return of longtime GSC coach Mike Miller, who coached the team from 1982-96. Miller, who was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in 1996, has been living in Portland, Ore., to be closer to medical treatment. He will serve as the meet's announcer.
Preliminary heats start at 9 a.m. all three days of the meet. The event finals start at 3 p.m. today and Saturday, with Sunday's finals starting at 1 p.m.
Also, two local synchronized swimmers - Koko Urata and Sarah Felix - will perform their duet routine before Saturday's finals start at 3 p.m. Urata and Felix will be competing in the Junior West Zone Synchronized Swimming Championships on Feb. 13-15 in Walnut Creek, Calif.