Two head to U.S. Masters Swimming Championships

Local sports brief

Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Two Juneau residents will be swimming in the U.S. Masters Swimming Short Course (yards) National Championships this weekend in Santa Clara, Calif.

Ritchie Sonner and Greg Pease will compete for the Alaska Masters Swim Team in the meet, which runs from Friday through Sunday. They are the only members of the Juneau Masters Team competing in the meet.

Sonner, a former member of the Florida State women's swim team and a four-time all-American in college, qualified for the meet in six events in the age 45-49 division -- the 50-yard butterfly, the 50 backstroke, the 100 fly, the 100 back, the 100 individual medley and the 200 IM. She is seeded in the top-10 nationally in each of her events, and is close to a couple of national records. Sonner holds the state records in each of her events. This is her second trip to nationals.

Pease said he's using the meet to celebrate the one-year anniversary of a bus crash that nearly killed him. Pease was training for the Kluane to Chilkat International Bicycle Relay last May 15 when he was hit by a tour bus and "got banged up big time," he said. In February, Pease was recovered enough to win two events at the state masters championships. He will compete in two events at nationals -- the 50 freestyle and the 50 back in the age 50-54 division. This is his first trip to nationals.

"We will be members of the Alaska team, made up of swimmers from around the state, and are excited to represent the capital city at this prestigious event," Pease said.

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