Juneau high school swimmers and divers found success at the recent state championships held at Bartlett High School.
There were multiple first-place finishes and plenty of placing results among the athletes from Thunder Mountain High School and Juneau-Douglas: Yadaa.at Kalé in the season-concluding event.
TMHS coach Josiah Loseby said he’s proud of not only the success the team saw over the entire season but also for the improvement seen between regions and state.
“It’s really difficult to drop a lot of time like that back to back between regions and state, so I’m just very proud of everyone’s performances at state for swimming and diving,” Loseby said. “We had a lot of young kids go and a lot of kids who maybe didn’t even qualify for state last year or if they did qualify for state they were in the lower half of the top 16, but we had almost every single person that went this year final, which is really quite crazy that they’re earning top eight in the state. It was a big accomplishment for everybody this year.”
TMHS junior and team captain Caitlin Sanders also said it was exciting to see the vast improvement from regions to state and watching her teammates grow from the beginning of the season to where everyone ended up was inspiring.
“This season was wild,” Sanders said. “As a team captain, you really see and recognize everyone from where they started, where they are, and what their goals are. We had people come in this year hardly knowing how to flip on the wall and then at regions you see those same people crush their best times, some even make state, and you really are proud of them. The people who started out fast and got faster are truly insane. Getting up early isn’t easy, as anyone would expect, but the fact that these highschoolers got up and put in continuous effort towards the goal of ‘for themselves and for their team’, is what we are all about. That’s undeniably inspiring.”
For the TMHS girls in the 200 yard freestyle relay, senior Alex Jenkins, senior Sadie Jenkins, junior Olivia Mills, and Sanders earned first place in the state, which was a first time accomplishment for the TMHS Swim/Dive Girls, in addition to rebreaking the school’s newly set record by almost a full second. Junior PJ Foy took first place in the 200 yard freestyle and was one second shy from breaking the state record. Foy also took first place in the 100 yard butterfly and broke the previously held 14 year old state record of Cody Brunette by just over one second in addition to setting a new TMHS record. Additionally, Foy was nominated and awarded as the outstanding male athlete of the 2022 swim/dive state championships.
The TMHS swim/dive boys were honored with the Sportsmanship award for their excellent display of sportsmanship throughout the 2022 swim/dive state championships, which was an accomplishment that Loseby said he’s certain they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.
“Our boys being awarded the sportsmanship award at the state championship meet, that’s just something really big that I think is super important. It’s those life skills that you learn through sports that carry you forward into being a better person for the rest of your life,” Loseby said. “I was thinking back to my time as a swimmer and I don’t really remember many races that I swam from being young all the way to being in high school, but what I do remember is those shared experiences that I had with my team and those positive moments that we had together, and I know that sportsmanship piece is a huge positive moment that those kids will always be able to carry forward with them and the skills that they gain through that demonstration is something that’s going to help them for the rest of their lives.”
Among TMHS swim/dive state competitors, junior Gabie Anderson, O. Mills, S. Jenkins, and Sanders took fifth place in the girls 200-yard medley relay. Anderson took seventh place in girls 200-yard IM and senior Sven Rasmussen took fifth place in boys 200 yard IM. S. Jenkins took seventh place in girls 50-yard freestyle, senior Stig Cunningham took eighth place in boys 1 meter diving, and Rasmussen took sixth place in boys 100 yard butterfly. Sanders took fifth place in girls 100-yard freestyle, S. Jenkins took sixth place in 500 girls yard freestyle, and freshman Clive Mateo, Rasmussen, sophomore Matthew Godkin, and Foy all took eighth place in boys 200 yard freestyle relay. For the girls 100 yard backstroke, sophomore Dannan Mills took sixth, Sanders took seventh, Anderson took eighth and O. Mills took sixth.
TMHS senior and team captain Sven Rasmussen said that throughout his time swimming for TMHS he’s had a positive experience and was ultimately able to accomplish more than he ever expected.
“This year, I have the unique opportunity to be team captain, the opportunity to mold the team to what I wanted it to be,” Rasmussen said. “Through hard work we were able to achieve more than I thought we could, it was really good to see. We all performed well and we all had a good time.”
JDHS swim coach Seth Cayce said he was happy with the way the season played out and felt the team swam as well as they could have hoped for. Additionally, Cayce said that every member of the team trained hard, pushed their mental and physical limits and all of their efforts paid off during state.
“We had everyone that was healthy get lifetime bests in multiple races and that’s always the measure of success,” Cayce said. “The girls tied for 5th place overall and the boys got 4th. Which happens to be the same placings that we got last year. We took home seven individual medals and four relay medals and that’s the most since I’ve been the head coach (top 4 places get medals, I’ve been the head coach since the 2015 season.)”
Cayce said he’ll miss this year’s team, especially a number of the senior boys, (Chaz VanSlyke, Harrison Holt, Chris Degener, and Aaron Mulrew-Truitt) who he said made the season memorable and enjoyable in many different ways. Cayce also added that while he’ll miss the seniors, he’s excited to see what the girl’s team can do next year.
“Everyone that competed at State will be back next year,” Cayce said. “If we can stay healthy next year we’ll be right back in the mix for competing for a top two finish. I want to make sure my assistant coach Amber Kelly gets recognition here as well. She has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to workouts, training, and to be honest everything about swimming. We would not see the results that we have enjoyed without her.”
For JDHS girls in the 200 freestyle relay, Valerie Peimann, sophomore Emma Fellman, freshman Kate Schwarting, junior Samantha Schwarting came in fourth place, and Samantha Schwarting, freshman Valerie Peimann, sophomore Pacific Ricke, Fellman came in third place for girls 400 freestyle relay. Fellman took first place in 200 individual medley relay and second place in 100 breaststroke, and S. Schwarting took second place in both 200 and 500 freestyle relay.
For the boys 200 medley relay, senior Harrison Holt, sophomore Matthew Plang, senior Chaz VanSlyke, senior Chris Degener took third place, and for boys 400 freestyle relay VanSlyke, Degener, senior Aaron Mulrew-Truitt, and Holt took third place, as well. VanSlyke took second place for 200 individual medley and fourth place for 100 butterfly, while Holt took fourth place for 200 freestyle and fifth place for 100 backstroke.