Swimmers log personal bests at first swim meet of season

The high school swim team competed in its first meet of the season, the Sitka Invitational, on Sept. 1 and 2. Though the Wrangell Wolves placed sixth overall, many swimmers logged personal bests in this early season event after the community's long pool closure.

Senior Jack Roberts placed first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:54.13 and was among the top three finishers in all his events. He swam personal bests in two of his four events, with a 22.95 50-yard freestyle and a 1:04.91 100-yard breaststroke.

Three other swimmers achieved personal bests - Alisha Armstrong with a 1:36.68 100-yard breaststroke, Andrei Bardin-Siekawitch with a 29.77 50-yard freestyle, and Nate Rooney with a 26.83 50-yard freestyle and 1:01.93 100-yard freestyle.

Anika Herman, Johanna Sanford, Kalee Herman and Maddy Davies also represented Wrangell at the meet, and gave the women's team enough swimmers to participate in relay events, which hasn't been possible since 2019. "Relays just bring a lot of energy to the team," said coach Jamie Roberts.

Overall, there were five personal bests and 13 top 10 finishes.

Roberts was impressed with the swimmers' performance this early in the season. "The 8½ month pool closure meant that these swimmers only had approximately 10 to 20 practices before their first competition," she said. "It takes a bit of time to condition the lungs and muscles when you've been out of the water for even a few weeks. Endurance is really lacking at the beginning of any return to the pool. They put in good effort at practice, and it showed at the meet."

For three of the team's eight swimmers, the Sitka Invitational was the first time they had ever competed at the high school level. Of the 30 individual events Wrangell athletes participated in at the meet, 19 of them were first-time efforts in that event.

Since this year's team is so young, Roberts gave "a special shout-out to the returning swimmers for helping the new team members navigate their first high school meet." Armstrong, Roberts and Rooney have competed for Wrangell in past years.

Their next meet is the Juneau Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 15 to 16. In the seven days of practices leading up to it, Roberts plans to focus on improving the team's turns and kicking.

 

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