Homer swimmers, divers break school records

  • Senior Mariner swimmer Chloe Bechtol competes in the Region III Swimming and Diving Championships held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28, 2017 in Palmer, Alaska. (Photo submitted)
  • Freshmen Mia Groves (foreground) and Katelyn Engebretsen (background) compete in the Region III Swimming and Diving Championships held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28, 2017 in Palmer, Alaska. (Photo submitted)
  • Senior Griffin Downey swims the fly leg of the boys individual medley at the Region III Swimming and Diving Championships held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28, 2017 in Palmer, Alaska. The Homer Mariner girls took fourth overall. (Photo submitted)

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the final team scores for the Region III competition. The girls took fourth, and the boys took seventh.

While Homer didn’t claim the top spot in the Region III Swimming and Diving Championship last weekend, the Mariner swimmers and divers did come home with two new school records and several members headed to the state championship.

The Homer girls took fourth overall at the Regional meet in Palmer, held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28, with 45 points. The Homer boys took seventh with 17 points. Nine team members are advancing to the ASAA/FNBA Swim and Dive State Championships this weekend in Anchorage. To top it all off, two school records were broken in the process — the girls 200 medley relay and the girls 1-meter dive.

The relay record was actually broken twice, once during the preliminaries on Friday, and then again during the finals on Saturday. The record for the the 1-meter dive, broken by sophomore Annalynn Brown, hadn’t been touched since 1994, said diving coach Daulton Warren.

“Just a lot of hard work and a lot of early mornings,” he said of how Brown achieved the record. “And hard mornings.”

Warren, in his second year as coach, said the competition was steep at the Region III meet. This region has some of the best divers in the state, period, he said.

“Both varsity divers, Annalynn Brown and Spencer Warren performed better than I expected throughout the season,” Warren wrote in a later email. “The Region (III) competition is very tough in both boys and girls diving events. Their success is attributed to many hours of early morning hard work, pushing through the occasional pain associated with diving, and not letting moments of terror stop them from trying something new – over and over again.”

Swim coach Thad Gunther was equally proud of his swimmers and their performance. He said it was good to see them achieve the goals they had set and to see all their hard work this season pay off.

“I thought the did really well, about as I expected,” he said of the team at the region meet. “They’ve been practicing hard this year.”

Gunther said he is grateful for all the parent and community support the team gets. Heading into the state championships this weekend in Anchorage, he said the team is just resting and preparing.

The teammates advancing to the state championship and their respective events are as follows: Alia Bales – 50 Freestyle, 200 Medley Relay, 200 Freestyle Relay; Chloe Bechtol – 100 Backstroke, 200 Medley Relay; Adeline Berry – 200 Freestyle Relay; Ella Blanton-Yourkowski – 50 Free, 200 Medley Relay, 200 Free Relay; Annaylynn Brown – 1 Meter Diving; Madison Story – 200 Individual Medley, 100 Breaststroke, 200 Medley Relay, 200 Free Relay; Clayton Arndt – 100 Freestyle, 100 Backstroke; Teddy Handley – 200 Individual Medley, 100 Butterfly; and Jake Nelson – 100 Butterfly

For full results from the Region III meet, see the weekly sports highlights.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@homernews.com.


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