Members of the Juneau-Douglas High School swim teams felt like they had just swam every stroke allowed in competition after Wednesday's practice. Probably because they had.
The Crimson Bears have maintained their focus on variety and technique through the season's first two meets in hopes that the workouts will help them find which events are a natural fit.
"At first, practices seemed really slow with all the drill work, but I definitely think focusing on our strokes has really helped me out," junior Seth Cayce said. "I'm a breaststroker, and I know I feel a lot smoother and more powerful now. All of my strokes feel better, really."
The team's focus in practice has slowly begun to shift toward speed and strength training, though, and this week's meets will likely be the swimmers' final chance to try out new events during competition.
The Crimson Bears will split along class lines for the weekend, with the upperclassmen headed to Anchorage for a tri-meet with Service and East on Friday afternoon. The upperclassmen will attempt to defend the teams' 2007 Bartlett Invite titles against most of the state's large school squads on Saturday.
"I'm not sure who all will be there, but it should be most of the Anchorage teams, Fairbanks teams and smaller schools nearby," coach Jason Wilson said. "It's a great chance for these guys to get a look at their competition and size them up."
Juneau-Douglas' Cody Brunette also will get a chance to test some of his state-best times in head-to-head competition against the state's best. Brunette currently holds the fastest meet-recorded marks for six different events, ranging from the 50-yard freestyle to the 200-yard individual medley.
The meet also will feature the JDHS boys' 200-yard medley relay team squaring off against Wasilla. The Warriors currently lead the Crimson Bears by just twenty-six hundredths of a second for the state's fastest time.
Juneau-Douglas' underclassmen will make their way to Sitka over the weekend to compete against a mix of Southeast rivals.
"This will be the first trip for some of those guys, and their first meet since we hosted ours," Wilson said. "Part of our focus will be getting those jitters out. We're still teaching them to relax and visualize before they race."
Upperclassmen will leave for Anchorage on Friday morning, with warm-ups beginning at 3 p.m. for the tri-meet. Warm-ups for Saturday's invitational will begin at 1 p.m.