Friedli eyes new state diving record

New coach takes over Chugiak swim team


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After winning the girls state diving title last year, Kaitlin Friedli has a new goal — set the state record.

“If you shoot for the stars and miss, you always land on the moon,” the Chugiak High senior said at a tri-meet with Eagle River and South on Friday, Aug. 31.

Chugiak’s Alaina Patterson set the current record of 463.45 points in 1998. If Friedli wants to surpass Patterson, she’ll have to improve on her score from last year by more than 100 points.

Tireless work on her form and staying healthy will be essential, Friedli said, if she wants to achieve her lofty goal.

Chugiak’s new head coach and former Dimond High diver Megan Morton said she wants Friedli approaching the season one day at a time.

“You just have to focus one meet at a time and ultimately one practice at a time,” she said.

Friedli has started the 2012 swimming and diving season off well, winning the 1-meter dive event in both meets.

A 2007 Dimond graduate, Morton takes over for Jessica Kopischke, who led the Mustangs for five years.

The transition has gone smoothly, Friedli said.

“She’s a good coach,” she said. “She’s definitely working hard.”

Morton said her hard-working team is responding well to her coaching style.

“They’re doing really well and they’re training hard,” she said.

Along with Friedli, senior Cierra Holtman and sophomore Sammy Burke are other girls state finalists back for Chugiak. Holtman and Burke teamed up with Marissa Headrick and Abby Blackstone to win the 200-yard medley relay during the tri-meet at Bartlett.

Holtman also won the 50 free and Burke took first in the 500 free.

Eagle River won the meet with 118 points. South (110.5) took second and Chugiak (95.5) was third.

South’s boys won the meet with 163 points. Eagle River took second with 82 points and Chugiak was third with 75.

An influx of some young talent has helped Chugiak’s girls, Holtman said.

“We lost a few strong seniors, but we have strong freshmen,” she said. “We’re looking pretty good.”

Holtman said the Mustangs’ 400 free relay of herself, Burke, Blackstone and freshman Emmie Jennings would like to reach the podium at state.

“All of the girls in that relay have a strong swimming background,” she said.

On the boys’ side, Chugiak has had an influx of new swimmers, many of whom also wrestle.

“The wrestling team has now become the swimming team,” senior Mitchell Wilder said. “We have about half their guys.”

The Mustangs have swimmer/wrestler Dylan Budke to thank.

“He did a lot of recruiting,” Morton said. “It was greatly appreciated.”

For success this year, Chugiak needs to focus on its weaknesses, Holtman said. The team has been improving as the season progresses, she said.

“Every week, we get stronger,” Holtman said. “We all support each other.”

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