Five swimmers represented Petersburg at the State Championship swim meet last weekend in Anchorage, and after getting mostly personal best times in preliminaries on Friday, and then even better times in the finals, the boys ended up placing 5th out of 19 schools with many individual achievements, including Abel Aulbach defending his state title in the 100-yard Freestyle event.
Service's Ezra Corwin-Hogue came in 7 hundredths of a second faster than Aulbach in the prelims, but the next day, when it counted, Aulbach cut half a second off his time and defended his championship title in the event with a time of 47.08. Vince Kowalski was close behind him, finishing with 49.67 - good enough for 5th place.
"The boys all qualified for finals in all their events. The girls didn't qualify for finals but they did get best time and moved up a couple of spots," said Vikings head coach Andy Carlisle.
Aulbach took third in the 50-yard Free this year, with a time of 22.07. He was last year's champ in the event.
"It came down to just whoever's hand was coming around at the right time. There were three or four guys all right there within hundredths of each other," said Carlisle.
In the 200 free, Kowalski shed two seconds off his 6th place prelims finish to swim a 1:47.47 and take third in the finals.
The 100 yard backstroke rivalry between Sitka's Louis Belley and Viking Evan Marsh rages on. Though Belley got the championship in the event this year, Marsh swam his best time, a 53.47, and got the second place trophy.
Marsh also set a new best time for himself in the 200 IM.
The Vikings 200 Free Relay team got 4th, and the 400 Free Relay boys finished 3rd behind Sitka and Service.
"Competition was a lot stiffer than it has been in the past," said Carlisle. "All the kids were commenting that it seems like it took a lot faster times just to get to the state meet, and then you really had to step it up to get somewhere."
"The kids all did real well, and made us proud," he said.
Seniors Vince Kowalski, Shania Dahlberg and Abigail Taylor are graduating away, but they leave behind a good core group of swimmers and Coach Carlisle is already looking forward to next year.
"It'll be really good," he said.