For the Juneau-Douglas High School swimming and diving team, showing team energy is nearly as important as times and wins.
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The Crimson Bears boys and girls squads won meets against Sitka, Craig, Petersburg and Ketchikan on Friday and Saturday. Equally as important, however, is how JDHS students supported each other and showed spirit.
"I asked them to step up their energy level," JDHS coach John Wary said. "I think it waned (Friday). I think it has to do with the fact that even though we have a lot of seniors on the team, we have a lot of younger kids and they're still learning. I'm not worried about it.
"They have to want to be a team. They have to want to have high energy. I'm not going to yell to get it done. You can't make them do it."
In addition to fostering team chemistry, an important part of this early season competition is to test the swimmers and gauge their fitness.
With the season being so short and geared toward the state championships in November, monitoring a tight training schedule is key to success.
"What I want to see is the plan of workouts, how we're doing, are we on target," Wray said. "We swam strong. We had some excellent, excellent performances."
On the girls' end, senior twins Sara and Melissa Bogert continued to show their prowess in the poll. Sara won the 50 yard freestyle Saturday and 100 freestyle Friday while Melissa took the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle Saturday along with Friday's 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly.
A breakout star of the weekend's meets proved to be Lia Heifetz. Despite battling a shoulder injury, the senior won the 100 breaststroke Saturday in 1 minutes, 10.04 seconds and Friday's 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke
"The swimmer of the meet was probably Lia Heifetz," Wray said. "Every time she jumped in the pool she swam faster and faster. ... She swam with a lot of confidence. She wants to contribute this year."
The JDHS girls also won each relay event on Friday and Saturday.
For the boys, freshman Tyler Mickelson had a quite a workout on Saturday. After racing in the 500 freestyle, he then swam a leg on the Bears' winning 200 freestyle relay team and then followed that up with a fifth-place finish in the 100 backstroke.
The three events all occurred consecutively for the freshman.
"I usually get very tired, but then it's really weird," Mickelson said. "I get energy back really fast. In races like the 500, I can slow down for a bit and get my energy back to swim hard again. I was a little tired but not too much."
Taking on multiple races in a row is an extension of Wray's practices and training regimen.
"In the midseason I want to give them back-to-back events to tax them," he said. "We kind of do that in practice. We do a lot of things in a small period of time with 3,000 and 4,000 yard sets and at the end of the set I say, 'On the block, on the wall, let's time it.' I want them to get used to being tired and swimming fast so they can't use that as an excuse."
Sophomore Cody Brunette, in his first action of the season, won multiple events over the weekend. He took the 100 freestyle Saturday in 49.29 and 100 breaststroke in 1:06.55. On Friday, Brunette captured the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
Fellow sophomore Nick Rutecki also won several races, taking Saturday's 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly and Friday's 100 freestyle.
Freshman Josh Anderson stepped up to win Saturday's 500 freestyle in 5:14.75, 11 seconds faster than his previous best.
"He'll be ranked in the top six or seven (in the state) in the 500 free," Wray said. "He thinks he's a sprinter but he's going to get a memo on that soon."
As for the divers, JDHS junior Nathan Teal won on each day. On Saturday, Teal won despite not having the luxury of any warm-up dives. He had lifeguard duty during the warm-up session and had to go right into the event.
Allison Sharp continued her strong start to the season. She won Saturday with 183.15 points and Friday with 172.90.
"(JDHS diving coach) Jamie Miller had them doing harder dives (Friday) and simpler ones today," Wray said. "We're gearing for the Bartlett Invitational (on Sept. 29) where they do 11 dives, and they're starting to piece it together."
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