Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Thunder Mountain swim and dive team returns to action this weekend at Ketchikan after COVID-19 cancelled last season’s state championships and Southeast travel was minimal.
“I am looking forward to just kind of getting back into the swing of things, a little bit normal, more normal than it was last year,” said TMHS coach Josiah Loseby, a 2014 Falcons graduate. “We have a lot of new kids this year that are going on their first ever meet for Ketchikan and I am super excited for that because usually it is just a freshman group with a couple of other kids sprinkled in there throughout the different grades.”
Due to the pandemic, all the freshmen and most of the sophomores have never traveled.
That said, there are some school records that could fall this year by younger swimmers.
“A lot of individual events for the boys,” Loseby said. “And also some of the relays, too. Same thing for girls.”
Sophomore PJ Foy could be in the Falcons record book soon in the 100 fly, 500 free and 100 breast. Junior Sadie Jenkins and freshman Caitlin Sanders may move the 100 back mark.
The Falcons senior class are the favorites for most events, and one of the largest the team has had.
“A lot of different and large personalities found within that group,” Loseby said. “They definitely play a huge role just helping shape the team dynamics that we have. It will be a good last year with them but a sad transition seeing them go.”
Loseby said he met with the upper classmen to discuss helping the swimmers newer to high school travel adapt to the rigors.
“Just reiterating and really modeling those expectations for them so that they see what they are supposed to do,” Loseby said. “Because it is a brand new experience for a lot of them. I am just really excited for the season. The state tournament here will be really fun. Swimmers that don’t qualify will be able to help out and spectate also. It is nice to have a home-cooked meal sometimes.”
The Alaska School Activities Association state swim championships will be held at the Falcons home pool in the Dimond Park Aquatics Center.
Some of the Falcons seniors commented on the season.
Karthik Sanguni is looking to get a 200 free relay record.
“My specialty is sprinting, breaststroke and freestyle,” Sanguni said. “What I like about this team is how supportive everyone is. Pretty excited about the state tournament. We are going to have a home field advantage. We have been practicing every day for it.”
Nancy Liddle specializes in sprint butterfly and long distance freestyle.
“I am looking forward to going to meets because we get to all spend time together,” Liddle said. “I enjoy how closeknit we all are and how we are all super supportive of each other.”
Jamie Heidersdorf specializes in the 100 breaststroke.
“Something I am looking forward to this season is probably just getting to hopefully compete versus swimmers throughout Southeast,” Heidersdorf said. “Get to compete versus them after two years or something, it’s been a while. Something I love about our team is just how welcoming and fun the team atmosphere is. Everyone always has a positive attitude and it is always really fun.”
Falcons with state championship experience include Heidersdorf in the girls 200 medley relay and the 100 back; Liddle in the girls 200 medley relay, 400 free relay, 100 butterfly and 500 free; Sanguni and junior Sven Rasmussen in the boys 200 medley relay and 100 breast; junior Alex Jenkins in the girls 50 free and 400 free relay; junior Owen Berger in the boys diving; senior Kristofer Ely in the boys 100 free; senior Samson Anderson in the boys 500 free; and Ely, Sanguni and Anderson in the boys 200 free relay.
Seniors - Samson Anderson, Cael Brown, Kristofer Ely, Karthik Sanguni.
Juniors - Sven Rasmussen, Owen Berger (dive only), Stig Cunningham (dive only), Sam Kiessling (dive only).
Sophomores - Benson Boudreaux, Cameron Brown, PJ Foy.
Freshmen - Matthew Godkin, Wake Ryan (dive only), Paul Smith (dive only), Brayden DeTienne-Falls (dive only).
Seniors - Jenny Chester, Jamie Heidersdorf, Nancy Liddle, Teslin Smith.
Juniors - Sadie Jenkins, Alex Jenkins, Maya Chaskin.
Sophomores - Gabie Anderson, Olivia Mills.
Freshmen - Nova Hines, Caitlin Sanders.
Josiah Loseby (head coach), Cody Brunette (assistant swim), Nathan Teal (assistant dive), Savona Kiessling (assistant dive).
September 3-4 at Ketchikan.
September 17-18 at Petersburg.
October 1-2 at Sitka.
October 15-16 at Juneau.
October 29-30 Region V Championships at Ketchikan.
November 5-6 State Championships at Juneau.