Petersburg’s Viking Swim Club is getting ready to wrap up its season. Club swimmers recently returned from the Junior Olympics meet in Anchorage.
The club also competed at a regional meet in Juneau in April. The Southeast Championships pitted Petersburg against larger schools like Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan.
The local team took third place in the regional meet and was competitive at the state level as well.
(The club has three groups for different levels of swimmers: beginners, intermediate, and advanced. Practices run Monday through Friday. This season is wrapping up May 13th. The club will start back up in the fall.)
Junior Olympics lasts three days and requires tough qualifying times. Five Petersburg swimmers traveled to the meet and competed in up to seven events.
KFSK’s Angela Denning sat down with Head Swim Coach, Scott Burt, to talk about the competitions. He says Junior Olympics went really well.
Burt: This was, in many ways the culmination of a long season of work. It was a big meet, probably, I don’t know the exact number, but I would guess anywhere between 360 to 380 swimmers from across the state. It was a big deal.
Denning: How does the meat like that look like for people who haven’t been? I mean, in terms of organizing.
Burt: It is crazy. It is interesting that you asked that because it’s a little different than some of the other ones that I’ve been to in my short tenure here is as a swim coach. With such a large group of kids, the pool that we were at–Bartlett pool in Anchorage–is actually split into two pools. So you have boys competing on one side simultaneously while girls are competing in the other pool. And it greatly speeds things up, but it also creates for a pretty hectic environment.
Denning: So you took Petersburg’s best. How did they do? What are some of the highlights that you could share with us?
Burt: I took Lexie and Logan Tow, Brooklyn Whitethorn, Tory Miller, Lucia Worhatch. And across the board, we had drops in times. And as head coach, that’s what you always want. You want to see your kids improve, you want to see them swim their personal bests. You know, even if it’s just a 100th or a tenth of a second faster. I always like to tell them, you’ve never swam that fast in your life. That’s a win. The level of competition at a meet like this is intense compared to what they’ve seen before. So you have to deal with jitters, you have to deal with nerves. As we said, 360 swimmers, basically two meets going on at the same time. Crowded pool deck, crowded stand. It’s a hectic, frenetic environment. And these kids handle it well. Not every time was a personal best, but those that were not personal bests, were right at it, really close. And so I just, I have nothing but positive comments, nothing but positive feelings. And with respect to the effort that I saw from the kids, the way they handled themselves, dealing with the pressure, the way the sportsmanship that they displayed to their fellow competitors from across the state. It was a it was a great time.
Denning: Is there anyone that you want to feature individually in terms of their results?
Burt: You know, as I mentioned before, in meets of this caliber, they have preliminary events in the morning. And then the top eight in this case, the top eight qualifiers get to swim again in the afternoon and finals. And both Lexie Tow and Brooklyn Whitethorn did qualify in finals events. Maybe not all of their events but at least for most of them. And I was really proud of that. And then they don’t do prelims and finals for kids that are 10 and under. They have only timed finals in the morning. And so you get one shot at it. And I was really impressed, Tory Miller got first in 50 Fly, she ended up getting third in the 100 Fly. So I mean a remarkable performance for her.
Denning: The Viking some club also participated in another meet this spring that was Southeast champs happening in Juneau.
Burt: We did and for Southeast champs, we took 20 swimmers. It was a huge group, what a fun time. And when you take, you know, 20 kids trying to do to go through each one of their events in all their places. We would be here all day, to log their accomplishments because they swam so well.
Denning: How many teams were participating in the Juneau meet?
Burt: If memory serves, there were seven. And I’m very proud to say that as a team, we ended up placing third. So we came home with a trophy.
Denning: Oh, that’s great. Any highlights that you wanted to touch on?
Burt: You know, I would. Drew Beavers, Audrey Boggs, Hogan Eddie, Olivia Hinde, Camden Johnson, Bella Miller, Tory Miller, Simone Nielsen, Noah Powak. Maya Thynes, Lexie Tow, Logan Tow, Grady Walker, all of those swimmers placed within the top three in multiple events. So highly competitive. And across the board, like I said before, the same at JO’s, significant time drops. I mean, these kids really showed up prepared, prepared to compete and they showed it, their time showed it, they really did well.
Denning: That must feel pretty good as a coach.
Burt: Oh, words don’t do it justice. You know, to see the hard work pay off. When you go to meets it’s like that. It energizes the team, it energizes me. And I think it reminds us all this is why we practice. This is why you show up to practice every day. You know, you put in the time, you put in the effort and it’s going to show and you’re going to swim faster and you’re going to be competitive.