The Juneau Masters Swim Club posted its best finish ever in the Alaska Masters Swimming Short-Course Yards State Championships, taking second place in last weekend's meet at Anchorage's Bartlett High School Swim Pool.
The 14-member Juneau squad posted a team score of 532 points, which ranked second behind SportsWest Alaska Masters (SWAM) of Anchorage. SWAM scored 1,482 points, but had 47 swimmers. Juneau's 38 points scored per swimmer was the best average score of any team with more than three swimmers at the meet.
Buckner of Fort Richardson took third place with 520 points and 18 swimmers, while the Alaska Club of Anchorage took fourth place with 471 points and 15 swimmers. Ketchikan rounded out the top-five teams with 454 points and 14 swimmers. There were 161 swimmers on 13 teams in the meet, including one two-person team from Washington state.
"That's the best we've ever done," said co-coach Jan Rumble, who splits coaching duties with Pat Geraghty. "We've come in third a couple of times, so this is a huge deal for us."
The Juneau team was led by the duo of Rhea Becke and Jackie Forster, who both won all six of their events in the women's age 19-24 division and shared the individual point-scoring title for that age group. It was the first state masters meet for both swimmers, and Rumble said their performances gave the team a big boost.
"The greatest thing was Jackie and Rhea swam completely different events," Rumble said. "So even though they were competing against each other, they never actually went head-to-head against each other. We had more people spread around more age groups this time. Everybody scored points and no one didn't contribute."
The only other Southeast swimmer to win a point-scoring title was Petersburg's Tani Stenfjord, who swam for Ketchikan in the women's age 35-39 division and shared the title with Mimi Cook of Buckner. Stenfjord was also the only Southeast swimmer to set a state age group record in the meet, winning the 50-yard butterfly in a time of 30.44 seconds.
Two former Juneau residents won titles in their divisions while swimming for SWAM -- Mia Costello in the women's age 30-34 division and Susan Condon in the women's age 60-64 division. Condon's husband, Wilson Condon, swam for Juneau in the meet and won the only two events he entered in the men's age 60-64 division.
Becke won all six of her events, and made national qualifying times in five of them. Becke won the 500-yard freestyle (6:00.86), 400 individual medley (5:20.28), 50 fly (30.47), 200 IM (2:32.30) and 200 free (2:13.38) in national qualifying times, plus she also won the 50 breaststroke (38.78) but missed the national cut.
Forster won the 100 IM (1:14.08), the 100 breast (1:25.59), the 100 backstroke (1:15.53), the 100 free (1:05.04), the 50 back (34.77) and the 200 back (2:45.72), but didn't have any national times.
The only other Juneau swimmers to meet national times were Ritchie Sonner, who won all three of her events in the women's age 45-49 division, and Rumble in the women's age 30-34 division.
Sonner, who has an injured shoulder and only competed in Friday's events, posted national times in all three of her events -- the 50 free (28.32), the 100 back (1:13.36) and the 100 IM (1:13.58). Rumble's one national time came when she took second place in the 500 free (6:01.12). Rumble had two firsts, three seconds and a fourth in her events.
Other Juneau female swimmers were Cathy Tide in the age 25-29 division (one first, one second, three thirds and a fifth), Stephanie Walden in the age 35-39 division (one first, two seconds, one third and two fourths), Kim Rivera in the age 40-44 division (one third, one fourth and two sixths), Sally McLaughlin in the age 45-49 division (two thirds, two sixths, one eighth and a disqualification) and Marianne Stillner in the age 55-59 division (one first and five seconds).
Juneau's other male swimmers were Dean Courtney in the age 35-39 division (four firsts, one second and a third), Tracy Rivera in the age 35-39 division (one first, two seconds and three thirds), Dave Seng in the age 40-44 division (two firsts, three seconds and a third) and Paul Johnsen in the age 50-54 division (three firsts, two seconds and one third).
"This is the one meet we design our workouts around," Rumble said. "We have a postal meet in April, which is all 50s and 100s and people swim in their own pools and send the results to me. Nationals are in Hawaii in May, but I'm not sure if anyone's going from here."
The Juneau Masters Swim Club meets from 5:30-6:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Augustus G. Brown Swim Pool. For more information about the club, call Rumble at 780-2552 or call the pool.
Complete results for the state meet are available on the Alaska Masters Swimming Web site, http://www.akmswim.org/.
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.