Nine swimmers from the Kachemak Swim Club traveled to Anchorage for the Junior Olympics on April 24-27. The four days of intense swimming competition is the culminating championships meet in Alaska.
“These athletes swam fiercely and accomplished astonishing best times in most of their events,” said Coach Rebecca Hardy.
To qualify for the JO is a remarkable feat, according to Jamie Roth, an age group coach for KSC.
“Besides making a challenging cut, swimmers have to retain focus and dedication throughout the year in order to arrive at this meet and be at their best,” said Roth. “All of our swimmers brought their best selves to this meet and they demonstrated the dynamic team spirit they are known for. They obviously love to swim. They showed their passion for the sport and I couldn’t be more pleased.”
This was the final competitive KSC swim for seniors and brothers James and Mark Nagle.
“Mark excelled in the 100 free, 400 IM and the 1650, receiving best times in all three,” said Hardy. “James, despite being sick the entire meet, was exceptional in the 200 fly, 100 back and the 100 fly.”
The Nagle brothers have been active in KSC for six years, teaching younger swimmers “and infusing the entire team with their energy and enthusiasm,” said Hardy, “They are looked up to and are going to be missed as they graduate and go off to college.”
Clayton Arndt received best times in both the 200 and 400 IM. Griffin Downey came close to taking almost seven seconds off in his breaststroke and 2.5 seconds in the 100 breaststroke.
Aurora Shadle, who participated in the 50 free, encouraged and inspired others with her usual unselfish and unwavering support,” said Hardy.
The Junior Olympics was Sailey Rhodes’ first championship meet. The coach said Rhodes had a best time in the individual 100 breaststroke and “performed professionally in her two relays.”
Piper Kassouni knocked three seconds off her time in the 50 breaststroke, finishing first in her heat. She also participated successfully in two relays. Ella Blanton-Yourkowski got the crowd’s attention when she body dolphined past the half line underwater in the breaststroke. That is a skill many high school swimmers do not perfect. She also had best times in two other events and was lead leg in two relays.
Madison Story entered seven events and two relays, more than any other swimmer on the KSC team.
“(Story) opened the festivities with the 200 IM and dropped a mind-blowing 10 seconds off her best time,” said Hardy. “She was a strong competitor throughout the weekend, but truly shined on Sunday, with her last two events, the 50 breaststroke and 50 butterfly, getting best times by more than a second and finishing third in both.”
Hardy said the KSC team reflected great depth, from its oldest swimmers concluding their swim careers to the club’s youngest athletes.
“This team is refreshing, dedicated and so supportive of each other,” said Hardy, noting the close friendships that have developed in spite of age differences. “I am so proud of this group of kids. They worked so hard and they all came to this competition ready to be their best. They are amazing.”
2014 Alaska Junior Olympic Championship
April 24-27 — Anchorage
Kachemak Swim Club times
Male 1650 free, 15 and older: Mark Nagle, 19:46.30; James Nagle, 20:01.71
Female 200 IM, 10 and younger: Madison Story, 2:53.51
Male 200 IM, age 13-14: Clayton Arndt, 2:19.67
Male 200 IM, 15 and older: Mark Nagle, 2:17.46; James Nagle, 2:18.34
Female 50 back, 10 and younger: Madison Story, 37.45; Ella Blanton-Yourkowski, 37.86
Male 200 fly, 15 and older: James Nagle, 2:20.29
Female 50 free, 10 and younger: Ella Blanton-Yourkowski, 34:12
Female 50 free, age 13-14: Aurora Shadle, 29.39
Male 50 free, age 13-14: Clayton Arndt, 24.49; Griffin Downey, 27.03
Male 50 free, 15 and older: Mark Nagle, 24.53
Male 500 free, 15 and older: Mark Nagle, 5:22.19; James Nagle, 5:36.34
Female 200 medley relay, 10 and younger: Ella Blanton-Yourkowski, 40.38
Male 100 free, age 13-14: Clayton Arndt, 55.04
Male 100 free, 15 and older: Mark Nagle, 52.44
Female 100 breast, 10 and younger: Madison Story, 1:28.74; Sailey Rhodes, 1:41.34
Male 200 breast, age 13-14: Griffin Downey, 2:40.78
Female 100 back, 10 and younger: Madison Story, 1:20.59; Ella Blanton-Yourkowski, 1:28.47
Male 100 back, age 13-14: Clayton Arndt, 1:07.77
Male 100 back, 15 and older: James Nagle, 1:02.00
Female 100 IM, 10 and younger: Madison Story, 1:19.66
Male 400 IM, age 13-14: Clayton Arndt, 5:14.79
Male 400 IM, 15 and older: Mark Nagle, 4:57.13; James Nagle, 5:04.09
Female 200 free relay, 10 and younger: Ella Blanton-Yourkowski, 34.39
Female 50 breast, 10 and younger: Madison Story, 39.58; Piper Kassouni, 44.89
Male 100 breast, age 13-14: Griffin Downey, 1:12.77
Female 100 free, 10 and younger: Ella Blanton-Yourkowski, 1:17.07
Male 200 free, age 13-14: Clayton Arndt, 2:03.89
Male 200 free, 15 and older: Mark Nagle, 1:58.03
Female 50 fly, 10 and younger: Madison Story, 35.66
Male 100 fly, age 13-14: Clayton Arndt, 1:03.74
Male 100 fly, 15 and older: James Nagle, 55.40