Juneau-Douglas High School swim coach John Wray likens next weekend's state championships as an exclusive nightclub.
On Saturday at Sitka, a number of Crimson Bears got their names on the guest list, while others must wait until Monday to find out if they'll get to Anchorage.
The Juneau-Douglas' girls swimming and diving team won its 13th consecutive region title, while the boys took third place overall at the Southeast Region Swimming and Diving Championships.
The Crimson Bears' girls team amassed 154 points to win the title. Ketchikan finished second with 73, followed by Petersburg with 56 and Sitka with 39.
"For all the injuries and illnesses that have popped up in the last three weeks, I thought we did well," Wray said of the girls' team. "We won two of the three relays and took second in the medley."
Sophomore swimmer Kristen Jones, battling an illness all week, captured the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:13.28 and the 500 freestyle in 5:28.89.
Julia DiCostanzo captured the 50 freestyle, Tanya Trucano won the diving competition, Melissa Bogert won in the 100 butterfly and Sara Bogert finished first in the 100 backstroke.
Juneau-Douglas' girls took at least first or second in each event during the regional championships.
"They all did what they're supposed to do," Wray said. "I'm not trying to downplay this. Julia DiCostanzo had two good races with two personal-best times. She had two good legs in the relays and did quite well. The girls were real solid and did what they're supposed to do."
In the relays, Juneau-Douglas' team of Sara Bogert, Jenna Rutecki, Amanda Jones and DiCostanzo won the 200 freestyle relay in a time of 1:40.34.
DiCostanzo and Amber Kelly then teamed up with Kristen Jones and Melissa Bogert to win the 400 freestyle relay in 3:49.43, more than 15 seconds better than their closest competitors.
On the boys' end, Kyle O'Brien took first place in the 200 and 100 freestyle with two of his best times of the season. O'Brien's heroics weren't enough, however, as Sitka claimed the overall title with 126 points. Ketchikan took second with 77, JDHS finished third with 69, Craig had 14 and Petersburg finished with four points.
"Ketchikan swam very inspired," Wray said. "They swam quite well. Sitka and Ketchikan both beat us in the (200) medley relay."
O'Brien posted a blistering 48.97 seconds in the 100 freestyle and a 1:47.59 in the 200 freestyle.
"He has confidence," Wray said of O'Brien. "I think he's looking forward to another week of structured rest and see what he may be able to do. We've set some significant goal times for this season."
JDHS senior Matt Josephson took second in the 200 IM and second place in the 100 backstroke.
While Josephson and O'Brien have been consistently performing all season, the Crimson Bears received a tremendous boost from freshman diver Nathan Teal.
The freshman, who has been diving for just 10 weeks, took second place at Sitka.
The Wolves proved too deep and too strong, however, and took the regional crown.
"We thought we had a chance at second place, but we didn't give up and tried hard," Wray said. "For this meet Ketchikan out-swam us. It happens."
The region champs receive automatic bids to next weekend's state championships in Anchorage. The remaining swimmers must wait until Monday to see if their regional times were fast enough to receive an at-large berth.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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