The Juneau-Douglas High School swimming and diving teams entered the toughest portion of their schedule this weekend with Friday and Saturday meets at Petersburg.
The Crimson Bears' girls team took third place on both Friday and Saturday while the boys took fourth each day, but coach John Wray wasn't looking for team wins at this point of the season.
In an effort to prepare for the regional meet at the end of October, Wray wants to put his swimmers into different events to gage where they are at physically and mentally.
"Overall the kids swam with spirit and energy," Wray said. "We're starting to finalize the list of who makes the regional team. Because we're so big, not everyone is going to regionals because we're restricted in the number of entries."
One JDHS swimmer who stepped up to this weekend's challenge was freshman Linzie Norman.
Norman captured the 500-yard freestyle races on both days and shaved eight seconds off her personal best time in the event. Norman posted a 5:57.20 on Friday and then a 5:49.81 on Saturday in the 500 freestyle.
Wray said she also cut five seconds off her personal best in Friday's second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle with a 2:19.93.
With Wray only bringing a small roster to Petersburg, Norman was thrust into the unfamiliar position as a top-seeded swimmer. Norman came through with flying colors as the favorite.
"If I put her in an event with the whole team, she'd be seeded third or fourth on the team and in her comfort zone," Wray said. "Here, she was seeded third (in the 500 freestyle) and we convinced her to attack the race, and she had a personal record by eight seconds and won. I hope she feels great about herself."
Jenna Rutecki made her season debut for the Crimson Bears and posted personal best times in both Friday's and Saturday's 100 freestyle. Rutecki posted a 58.55 on Friday and a 58.11 on Saturday and a She also took third in the 50 freestyle on Friday.
The divers took center stage over the weekend as JDHS captured first place in the girls competition on each day.
Tanya Trucano won on Friday while teammate Hanna Davis took first place on Saturday.
For the boys, freshman newcomer Nathan Teal placed second in the diving competition on Saturday.
JDHS didn't have a male diver until Teal joined up in late August.
While Teal remains relatively inexperienced, Wray said he was impressed with the determination the freshman showed.
"He had a situation on Friday where he flubbed his second dive and usually when that happens, the next dive is not so great," Wray said. "He came right back and stuck the thing. He showed a lot of fortitude, which I was very impressed with."
Juneau-Douglas only brought four boys to the meet.
Freshman Micah Brown competed in his first meet while Wray said he was happy with how Ian Kelley and Erin Rausch performed.
JDHS will bring the other half of its team on a three-day trip starting Thursday in Cordova.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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