Chugiak girls take 4th at state swim meet
Despite not being quite 100 percent, the Chugiak girls swimming and diving team still managed to grab fourth place on Saturday at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Swimming and Diving Championships at Bartlett High.
“We did a good job of working together and helping each other out,” said CHS coach Anne Williams, whose girls team scored 37 points to finish tied with South.
Chugiak junior Izzy Powers — the defending state champion in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle — was slowed by a sprained ankle suffered last week. Powers failed to qualify in the 100 freestyle and finished fifth in the 50 freestyle Saturday.
But Chugiak got standout days from Cheyenne Burke and Leslie Cockreham, who each reached the finals in two individual events and swam two legs of Chugiak’s fifth-place 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley relay teams. Burke was second in the 200 backstroke and fourth in the 100 freestyle, while Cockreham was fifth in the 500 freestyle and eighth in the 200 individual medley. Addison Morgan swam on both relays for the Mustangs, who also got help from Shelby Thompson in the 200 medley relay.
Had Powers been at full speed it likely wouldn’t have meant a whole lot in the team standings, where Dimond, Kodiak and Sitka swam away from the field. The Cook Inlet Conference champion Lynx won the meet with 97 team points, edging the Northern Lights Conference champion Bears (92) and Southeast Conference champion Wolves (86) atop the podium.
“The outlying regions were really competitive,” Williams said.
Eagle River’s Ellie Mercer finished fourth in the 100 backstroke for the 12th place Wolves, who also got a seventh-place finish from Katherine Horning in the 50 freestyle. Mercer and Horning teamed with Anna Schlimgen and Gracie Keen to finish seventh in the 200 freestyle relay.
Wolves coach Patrick Garrity praised Mercer, whose backstroke came in the next race after the relay.
“That’s hard to do,” Garrity said.
John Heaphy led the Eagle River boys to a sixth-place tie with Kenai Central, finishing second in the 100 breaststroke and fourth in the 200 individual medley. Despite swimming a personal-best 57.68 seconds in the breaststroke, Heaphy appeared crestfallen after touching the wall a quarter-second behind Thunder Mountain’s Bergen Davis.
“He was disappointed,” Garrity said. “He wants to win.”
Heaphy joined Daniel Min, Sam Horning and Kevin Fast to grab third place in the 200 freestyle relay — a bit of redemption after Min, Heaphy, Horning and Joey Anthony were one of two teams disqualified in the 200 medley relay.
Chugiak’s Dalton Lodzins placed sixth in the 100 breaststroke for Chugiak, which was 19th in the boys team standings. Thunder Mountain edged Dimond by three points to win the boys team title, with Kodiak a distant third.
Garrity said the heightened pressure and competition of the state meet is always good for the athletes, even when things don’t always go according to plan.
“It’s where they learn and they grow,” he said.
Both Williams and Garrity said numerous Chugiak and Eagle River athletes set personal bests during the two-day meet — which Garrity attributed to the enhanced competition that comes when the best swimmers in the state get together.
“They step it up a notch and that brings the best out of them.”
For complete meet results, visit asaa.org.