Petersburg Pilot -

Champion relay team sets new regional record


Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire

Petersburg's Abe Aulbach, center, is shown at the start of his Region V championship title swim in the 50 free on Saturday at Juneau's Dimond Park Aquatic Center

Swim and Dive's Region V Championship meet took place last weekend in Juneau, and the Petersburg Vikings performed outstandingly well.

Individual Vikings won a number of events, and the Vikings boys took third as a team, finishing just 5 points out from first place.

"If a couple things had gone differently we could have been second or even first," said Vikings head coach Andy Carlisle. "It was good. The kids did well."

Petersburg's Abel Aulbach and Thunder Mountain's Kenny Fox were the top scoring boys each contributing 18 points to their team total. Right behind them were Vince Kowalski, Will Pate of Sitka, Louis Belley of Sitka, and Thane Reishush-O'Brien of Thunder Mountain tied with 16 points. Also in the top ten was Evan Marsh with 13 points.

Vikings finished first and second in the 100-free, Abel Aulbach followed closely by Vince Kowalski.

Aulbach won the 50-free, and Kowalski won the 200-free.

Sitka's state champ Louis Belley beat Evan Marsh by less than a second in the 100-yard-back.

"That was a close one and Evan wasn't feeling tip top, so he's looking forward to the state meet," said Carlisle.

That race will be an exciting one at state as three guys are right at the same level, according the the Viking coach.

A fun and unusual highlight at the meet was in the 100-free. Skipper Ericksen tied for 9th and had to have a swim-off to determine the winner, and he increased his speed by two seconds to win the swim-off.

Shania Dahlberg took 4th place in the 200-IM, and Isabelle Ith had a fast fourth place finish in the 50-free, both girls qualifying to continue on to State.

Like meets throughout the season, the most exciting moments came in the championship relays.

In the 200-free-relay the Viking team of Evan Marsh, Ben Zarlengo, Vince Kowalski, and Abel Aulbach won, beating Thunder Mountain's swimmers by less than a second.

Vikings brought down the house with their performance in the 400-free-relay.

Describing the race long time swim parent and supporter Cate Kowalski compared to the recent meet at home, "You remember what it was like when they won the 400. I almost passed out from yelling so hard. It's just so fun."

In that race, the relay team of Vincent Kowalski, Skipper Erickson, Evan Marsh and Abel Aulbach came from behind to upset the defending state champion relay team from Sitka and not only win the event but set a new meet record with a time of 3:16:90.

"Abel was our anchor leg, and he started out probably three or four seconds behind Sitka and caught up and won," said Coach Carlisle.

The record they beat was previously set by a 1990s era Petersburg relay team led by

Doug Fleming / Submitted Photo

The Petersburg boys relay team of Evan Marsh, Abel Aulbach, Vince Kowalski and Skipper Erickson standing cetner atop the the winners platform following their record setting triumph in the 400-yard-freestyle relay at the Region V Swim and Dive Championship Meet in Juneau.

legendary Viking swimmer Derek Gibb.

"It's pretty cool we broke our own record," said Carlisle.

This weekend is the State Championship in Anchorage, and Region V is sending some outstanding talent to represent Southeast.

"It's just amazing these kids in Southeast that swim. We've got so much to be proud of, and not just here, also Juneau and Sitka. We really hold our own when it comes to that sport," said Cate Kowalski.

Aulbach, Kowalski and Marsh are swimming for the Vikings boys in individual events at State; those three, plus Erickson and Zarlengo, will form the relay teams; with Shania Dahlberg in the 200-IM and Isabelle Ith in the 50-free swimming for the Petersburg girls.

Carlisle is feeling pretty good about Petersburg chances for State Championship glory. He expects even better performances than at Regions.

"I don't feel we were rested enough last weekend, and this extra week of rest should do us good."


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