After Wednesday's practice, Juneau-Douglas High School swimming coach John Wray said, "Coaching is not an exact science, but you hope to get it right."
Wray will get to see if three months of training, laps and competition will pay off for his boys and girls teams this weekend, as the Crimson Bears compete in the Southeast Regional Swimming and Diving Championships in Sitka.
Throughout the season, Wray implemented what he called five-week block training. The season is divided into three blocks. Wray said the first training block incorporates lots of yards in the pool.
Midway through the swimming season, the second-block features more intense workouts.
"During this second block," Wray said, "the swimmers are really pushed almost past the point of absolute physical fatigue."
After the exhausting second block, the level of intensity is lowered for the third block.
"If there is doubt whether to train hard or not," Wray said, "rest is probably best."
Both the boys and girls will be battling Sitka, Petersburg, Ketchikan and Craig for the region title.
The girls will be searching for a 14th consecutive region crown and will be led by a number of standout athletes.
Sophomore Kristen Jones has posted top-16 performances in the state in seven different events. Other Crimson Bears looking to make an impact include, Sara Bogert, who currently holds the fourth-best state time in the 50-yard freestyle at 25.11 seconds; Melissa Bogert, second in the 100 butterfly; and Amanda Jones, Amber Kelly, Julia DiCostanzo and Lia Heifetz, all of whom have posted top-16 times this season.
The JDHS girls' 200 medley relay team has also posted the fastest time in Alaska this season.
Tanya Trucano currently holds the ninth-best performance in the state in 1-meter diving.
Kyle O'Brien leads the boys' team into the regional championships this weekend. The junior holds Alaska's fastest times in the 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle this season.
As a team, the boys have the fastest 200 medley relay time in the state. Another notable JDHS swimmer competing this weekend is Matt Josephson. The senior is ranked 15th statewide in the 200 freestyle, ninth in the 200 individual medley, 16th in the 100 freestyle, 12th in the 500 freestyle, fourth in the 100 backstroke and seventh in the 100 breaststroke.
Travis Blair and Jon Wendel have also posted times in the top 16.
In addition to regional championships on the line, swimmers will be battling for spots in next weekend's state championships in Anchorage.
While the regional champions earn automatic berths to the state meet, the remainder of spots are chosen at-large from throughout Alaska's regional performances.
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