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Vikings boys Region V swim champions


Erik LeDuc/ Petersburg Pilot

The Vikings boys team pose on deck during the the Region V Championship hosted in Petersburg last weekend. The Vikings took the Region V title for the boys team and qualified nine swimmers for the State Championship in Anchorage this weekend.

The Petersburg Vikings swim because they're too fast for sports that require clothes, the banners at the aquatic center proudly proclaimed, backed by dozens of individual posters cheering on particular players with a mixture of confidence and teasing.

The town came out to

support its own at home, and swimmers continued to give their fans reasons to cheer as the boys team brought in another win ahead of the upcoming state meet, where nine Viking swimmers will take on the best aquatic youth of Alaska.

Six swimmers already were on schedule to head north, but the most recent tournament bumped scores up enough to add another relay to Petersburg's competitive roster after Van Abbott, Ian Fleming, Aaron Murph and Nels Evens posted third in the recent 200-yard medley relay.

Those previously on the list to head to state were Izabelle Ith, Abel Aulbach, Skipper Erickson, Ben Higgins, Murph and Evan Marsh.

"We did amazingly well," Coach Andy Carlisle said. "The boys ended up winning – we liked that - and we had a ton of best times, which I like. I think everybody got best times; every single swimmer."

Reliable racers continued to draw in points, accruing 87 for the boys, six ahead of Sitka's second and 13 above Thunder Mountain. The girls, too short on numbers to field a full team, put on good individual and team performances in the 200 medley relay, fourth at a consistent 2:12.

Picking up the most individual points was Aulbach, who continued to jet ahead of his competition in the 50 and 100 free events, pulling in clear first place wins.

"Abel's 100 free, if he does it the same time this weekend at state will be a new record," Carlisle said. "He was faster than the current state record. It was 46.2 and he was a (46.04)."

Erik LeDuc

Abel Aulbach (center) took first in the 50 and 100 free events, breaking the Region V record in the 100-yard freestyle.

Evens was a big motivator for crowds as well, coming from behind performance in his 200 free race for seventh overall in a bracket divided by seconds at 1:59.39. Erickson was the top Viking swimmer, fourth in that bracket at 1:55.96.

"The biggest surprise was Aaron Murph in his races," Carlisle added. "In his 200 (independent medley) races he dropped 10 seconds, and in his 100 butterfly he dropped four. He really only started last year, so this has been a big surprise."

The Vikings, now regularly picking up points on diving for both boys and girls, found some new competition as Ketchikan divers also took to the board.

Ith, the lone diver for the girls, kept a solid lead in first, accruing 277.5 points over her dives, 50 ahead of competitors. The boys, however, fell behind, filling second and third behind a great performance from Ketchikan's Kegan Rheine, 281.5 to Fleming's 259.1 and Britton Erickson's 214.5.


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