The Juneau-Douglas swim team is feeling the pain associated with a demanding swimming season, but more rest is in store after a successful trip to Bartlett over the weekend.
The Crimson Bears boys' team finished first overall with 77.5 points - a half a point better than second-place Lathrop - and the girls' team finished in fifth place with 37 points. The combined team score of 114.5 was good enough for second place overall.
Seventeen swimmers and two divers represented the Crimson Bears at the Bartlett Invitational on Saturday, and Bears coach Kathrin Millhorn said she could see some tired bodies in the water.
"The kids are still going through that cycle where they're broken down and tired," she said. "They're struggling at the back half of the race, but that's exactly what we want to be seeing right now." she said.
The Bears were scheduled to compete in a tri-meet with Service and South Anchorage, but were unable to travel on Friday due to fog in Juneau. But after Saturday's meet at Bartlett, Millhorn said she was happy with her team's performance, specifically Jonah Swanson and Claressa Ullmayer, who continues to better her times.
"She just had a ten-second time drop at the home meet last week, and then she dropped about a half a second in the 500 free (5:54.02), and that's pretty big," Millhorn said. "She also dropped about five seconds in her 200 free (2:10.97), and she looked strong and fast in the water."
But Millhorn emphasized she believes the best is yet to come for her swimmers. She said next week's meet will feature primarily seniors and freshmen while others will continue to work on their own before cutting back and beginning their rest cycle, which allows muscles to rebuild with the Region V meet approaching quickly.
"(The swimmers) will decide when they will start to taper based on when they've tapered in the past and how they're feeling," Millhorn said. "The kids that are really tired right now are the ones that will start their rest cycle first.
"When we get to the rest cycle, it's going to be like somebody took sandbags off their feet. So they'll feel much better going into the Region V meet."
Millhorn remains optimistic because she said her swimmers' times are better than they were at this point during the Bears' last championship run of two years ago.
"When we were at home last week sleeping in our own beds and swimming in our home pool, the kids who swam two years ago when the boys won state were actually swimming faster than they were two years ago," she said. "So that's huge. I think all of our kids are only going to improve their times.
"We see a lot of good things coming for these kids, and they seem to feel it coming as well," she continued. "All indications point to, when we do get to the region and state meet, the kids doing what needs to be done. They're going to do very well."
The Bears also brought two divers to compete in the boys' event. Peter Bellagh placed sixth out of 32 divers with a score of 266.20, and Keith Andrews finished in 10th place.