Juneau swimmers swamp opponents at Invitational

Crimson Bears sweep Friday, Saturday team titles

Posted: Sunday, September 21, 2003

As the fans filed out of the building and volunteers packed up the gear used for this weekend's Juneau Invitational swim meets, a couple of the Juneau-Douglas High School swimmers stood around and wondered where the time had gone.

The Crimson Bears boys and girls teams swept the titles in Friday's and Saturday's meets at the Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool, Juneau's only home meets of the season and the last home meets of their careers for the Juneau seniors. This also was the first time the Juneau boys had been able to swim in front of their home fans since they tied Soldotna for a share of last year's state title.

"I'm a junior, so I've still got another one of these, but it does feel like three years have gone by really fast," said Tyler Hennon, who won the 200-yard freestyle and 500 free events on Friday.

"I especially feel it, because this is my senior year," added Olin Robus, who won the 100 butterfly and the 100 breaststroke on Friday, then won the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle on Saturday. "This is my last home meet. It is amazing how fast the time's gone."

In Friday's meet, the Juneau girls scored 135 points as senior Lisse Focht claimed a pair of individual events. Petersburg took second place with 65 points, followed by Ketchikan (58).

Robus and Hennon won two events each to lead the Juneau boys on Friday, as the Crimson Bears scored 139 points. Ketchikan took second place with 87 points, followed by Sitka (79).

On Saturday, the Juneau girls won with 115 points. Petersburg again took second place with 74 points, followed by Ketchikan (60).

Robus again won two events to lead the Crimson Bear boys in Saturday's meet, as Juneau scored 127 points. Sitka took second place with 85.5 points, followed by Ketchikan (74.5).

The Crimson Bears were able to use all of the swimmers and divers on their roster this weekend, which is a luxury they can't afford when they travel to away meets. Juneau easily had more swimmers than any of the other teams, so they turned to some internal goals for inspiration.

One of those was "83.71%," which was written on a bulletin board beside the pool. Juneau swim coach John Wray gave each swimmer a set of goal times for their events, and he told the Crimson Bears they could have Monday off if they bettered 83.71 percent of them.

"After yesterday, they were about 78 percent," said Wray, who hadn't computed Saturday's results yet. "Getting 83 percent best times is exceptional, but 78 percent's pretty good, too. I'm ecstatic. I'm real happy."

Juneau senior Natalie Hale said her times suffered a bit this week because she was in San Diego on Sept. 4-9 at the U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention. Hale, who represents Southeast Alaska athletes for Alaska Swimming, said she didn't get to swim much at the convention and that hurt her training.

"It was a little hard for me, but it was still neat to see how well everyone else was doing," Hale said. "It was a great experience."

In Friday's meet, Focht won the 200 and 500 free events. But what made her feel better about the victories was beating Petersburg's Carole Triem, who was ranked among the state's top swimmers in both events. In the 200 free, Focht posted a time of 2 minutes, 5.21 seconds to edge Triem's 2:05.40. In the 500 free, Focht swam a 5:36.13 to Triem's 5:37.34. Triem rebounded on Saturday to win the 200 and 100 free events.

"I started off a little ahead of her, and I figured if I'm this much ahead of her now there's no way she's going to pass me," Focht said of the 200 free, where she, Triem and Juneau senior Heather Harris swam shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder for most of the race. "After the 200, I felt so good. I got a lot of adrenaline from that in the 500."

Harris was slightly ahead of Focht and Triem in the 200 when she miscounted her laps. As the swimmers were finishing their sixth length, Harris thought she was done at first, then realized she still had two more to go. That mistake cost her 2 or 3 seconds - about what she finished behind Focht and Triem.

Harris went on to finish second to teammate Kelsey Potdevin by a split second in Friday's 100 free, then she won Saturday's 50 free and finished second to Potdevin in the 500 free.

"That's the first time in 10 years of swimming I've miscounted," Harris said. "I'm still catching flak for it."

Juneau dominated the diving events, as there was only one non-Crimson Bear diver entered (Petersburg's Sarah Fernau). Senior Patrick Hoke won the boys event each day, while junior Marnita Coenraad won the girls diving on Friday and sophomore Lexy Wagoner won on Saturday.

Hoke was the only boys diver to travel to the Ketchikan Invitational two weeks ago, so he appreciated having three other male divers at this meet even if they were teammates. Hoke scored 217.05 on Friday and 219.95 on Saturday. Gabe Kelley took second place on Friday with 173.65 points and Nathan Schroeder was second on Saturday with 166.25.

"It feels like there's a point to it," said Hoke, who has split time between Juneau and Bath, N.Y., in past years and is in his first season with the Crimson Bears. "I didn't realize there was so much competitions within the team."

Coenraad scored 194.15 points to win the girls diving on Friday, beating teammate Kaitlin Niewoehner's 157.65 - but she was happiest about beating Kelley. On Saturday, Wagoner scored 172.70 to Coenraad's 169.50.

Besides Focht's two victories and the wins by Potdevin and Coenraad on Friday, the Juneau girls also picked up a title in the 200 freestyle relay and the 400 free relay. Besides the double-event victories from Robus and Hennon and the diving win by Hoke on Friday, other Juneau boys to win were freshman Kyle O'Brien (200 free), the 200 medley relay team and the 400 free relay team.

On Saturday, the Juneau girls picked up single-event victories from Potdevin, Harris and Wagoner. The Juneau boys had a pair of victories from Robus and single-event wins from Hoke, O'Brien (100 butterfly) and Q Smyth (100 free).

In Friday's meet, Genny Szymanski of Haines and Ben Voetberg of Ketchikan won two events each. On Saturday, Szymanski and Triem won two girls events each, while Voetberg also won twice in the boys meet. Due to space constraints, complete meet results will run later this week.

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