Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Club records fell, state records were set, personal bests were reached, swimmers stood on the championship podium and the highest scoring percentage and points scored were accumulated as Juneau’s Glacier Swim Club chased their season vision of winning the state title.
The GSC had their strongest showing, historically, in the Alaska Swimming Junior Olympic Championships over the weekend at Anchorage’s Bartlett High School pool, scoring 3,232 combined team points to place second behind the Chugiak Aquatics Club with 3,355.
“I think we pretty much swam as best that we could so I am not disappointed at all,” Glacier Swim Club head coach Scott Griffith said. “The kids really raced hard across the board so we were really happy with how we swam… we definitely set our goals on that meet as kind of the season ending meet, the pinnacle… we encourage kids to try and get those cuts all year and we pretty much take everybody who qualifies. The kids want to go, they want to be part of it and we celebrate their success… it is kind of where every kid on the team wants to be at the end of the season…”
With 22 teams competing, the meet came down to three powerhouse swim clubs in the pool - CAC, GSC and Northern Lights Swim Club - for the combined title.
The GSC girls team placed first in total team points with 2,197, followed closely by Chugiak’s 1,982.5 and NLSC’s 1,151.
The GSC boys placed third with 1,035 team points, trailing Chugiak’s 1,373 and NLSC’s 1,297.
According to GSC statisticians the club swam 56 percent best times in their events, broke 20 team records and three state records.
Amy Liddle broke the club’s 11/12 girls 200 free in 2:02.95 and 500 free in 5:31.30. She also won all seven of her events and received one of the meets High Point Awards.
“I would say the highlight is getting to see everyone, especially from other teams, and hanging out with friends and cheering for everyone,” Liddle said. “It is pretty overwhelming, I think we can all say that, but I am glad I swam what I did and I am glad I did so well. I think everyone did great. It is pretty scary but it was good overall…”
Liddle has 20 club records now, dating back to her start as an eight-and-under age group swimmer.
“I think the most important record for me was the 50 free when I was eight-and-under,” Liddle said. “Because that was the first record that I broke…”
Emma Fellman broke the GSC records for 15/16 girls 200 back and 200 open back in 2:06.88, and the 400 IM in 4:39.36.
The 15/16 girls relay team of Pacific Ricke, Emma Fellman, Samantha Schwarting and Oliva Mills broke the club's 400 medley relay record and set a new state record with a blistering 4:09.63.
The 13/14 girls relay team of Dannan Mills, Valerie Peimann, Kate Schwarting and Caitlin Sanders broke the club record in the 200 free relay with 1:43.12, and in reverse order they set a club record in the 400 free relay in 3:46.23.
The open boys relay team of Caleb Peimann, Patrick “PJ” Foy, Harrison Holt and Chaz VanSlyke set a club record in the 200 medley relay with 1:36.17 and kept that lineup order to break the club’s 400 medley relay record with a new state record time of 3:27.93. They also set a club record in the 200 free relay with Foy leading off and Peimann on the anchor leg and finishing in 1:26.15.
Foy broke the club’s 15/16 boys 100 back with 51.00, 100 fly in 49.43, 200 back and open 200 back in 1:49.42, 400 IM in 4:08.20, 50 free in 21.06, 500 free and open 500 free in 4:40.75, plus the club’s 100 free record in a new state record time of 45.63.
“For me the highlight of the meet was being able to be there with my friends and to achieve the goals I had set for that meet,” Foy said. “For me personally it was just best times and to go as fast as I could on the relays to get the best pointage we could.”
Foy now has over 25 club records.
“I have worked really hard,” Foy said. “And I would not have been able to do that without my team behind me.”
Foy also received Alaska Swimming’s Male Swimmer of the Year award at the meet. He was noted for his 15-16 boys state records in the 200 free (1:38.72), 100 breast (55.45), 200 breast (2:01.71) and 200 IM (1:50.11), in addition to being high point winner at 2022 Senior Championships, second high point at 2022 Western Zone Senior Champs, and 2022 Summer Junior National Qualifier. His current national rankings for the following 15-16 boys events include 30th in 100 breast, 32nd in 200 breast, 36th in 200 free and 44th in 200 IM.
“It was really cool to be able to represent my team in that way,” Foy said. “It’s amazing. I personally feel like we are just, this kind of sounds dorky, but we are one big family because it is just a very good environment and very positive and we encourage each other to work harder and do our best…”
Coach Griffith said other improvements were seen at the Jos, not in the record book, but in effort and spirit.
“It is hard to narrow it down,” Griffith said. “I am not going to repeat anyone who got team records or high point awards… but there are definately some behind the scene swimmers who didn’t get the accolades of awards but really swam well… like Angela Huffer, she improved so much this year…Anita Morrison really swam well… Emily Delgado had an amazing year… Ethan Marsh, our only 10-and-under boy… I could go on and on, there are so many. Like I said, even the kids who weren’t scoring were swimming fast and out there cheering for their teammates…”
In addition at the meet, coach Griffith was named by Alaska Swimming as the Age Group Coach of the Year.
“That was kind of a surprise,” Griffith said. “I’m not sure who nominated me but it is always an honor to get recognized. It means a lot to know people think that of you and recognize the work and success we have here… My name is on there but it is a team definitely… beyond all the swimmers that put in the hard work it is the coaching staff… they all put in a lot of time and effort…”
Coach Griffith was noted for developing a successful program that draws a large percentage of Juneau’s youth to swim with the club and leading a team of coaches that bring success to Alaska swimming. The GSC placed first at the 2022 Age Group Championships. GSC coach Robby Jarvill was a nominee for senior coach of the year as he led a 14-member team to a 10th place combined team score at SCY Western Senior Zones.
From September 2021 to April 2022 the GSC has set over 35 club records. They include:
11-12 Girls - Amy Liddle (200 free 2:02.95 / 500 free 5:31.30 / 1000 free 11:28.34 / 1650 free 19:03.73 / 200 back 2:17.19 / 200 IM 2:18.58).
13-14 Girls - Caitlin Sanders (100 back 1:00.21); D. Mills, V. Peimann K. Schwarting, Sanders (200 free relay 1:43.12 / 400 free relay 3:46.23).
15-16 Girls - E. Fellman (200 back 2:06.88 - also open record / 400 IM 4:39.36); Ricke, Fellman, S. Schwarting, O. Mills (400 medley relay 4:09.63 / 200 free relay 1:42.03).
15-16 Boys - PJ Foy (50 free 21.06 / 100 free 45.63 / 200 free 1:38.72 - also open record/ 500 free 4:40.75 - also open record / 1650 free 16:09.69 - also open record./ 100 back 51.00 / 200 back 1:49.42 / 100 breast 55.45 / 200 breast 2:01.71 / 100 fly 49.43 / 200 IM 1:50.11 - also open record / 400 IM 4:08.20).
Open Boys - C. Peimann, Foy, VanSlyke, Holt (200 medley relay 1:47.86 / 400 medley relay 3:58.16 / 200 free relay 1:26.15).
Griffith noted what the sport provides to athletes and acknowledged the effort parents contribute.
“There is a lot of life lessons there…” Griffith said. “Learning how learning how to deal with not always getting best times or succeeding and managing your time and being comfortable with who you are. It is definitely a family effort at home to be part of our bigger family, the Glacier Swim Club… It starts young. We’ve been doing this long enough that we know the process. It doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen in a year. It takes years and years of progressing through the program and enjoying what you are doing and staying focused and improving. We have such a huge base right now of really more knowledgable swimmers so we are really excited with what the future holds…”
The Alaska Swimming Junior Olympic Championships are attached here along with partial individual points scorers (complete scorers not available), GSC swimmers improvements from the Jos, and complete GSC club records: