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Aulbach breaks state swim record; Vikings boys place fourth overall


Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire

Petersburg's Abel Aulbach slices through the water at the start of his new state record 100 freestyle win during Saturday's state swim championships at Anchorage's Bartlett High School pool. Aulbach swam a 44.90 to top the mark of 46.27 set by the Vikings Derek Gibb in 1998.

Abe Aulbach went out in style, smashing a state record for the 100-yard freestyle race set in 1998, as he and many of his teammates took their last competitive lap in Anchorage at the state competition, with the tiny team more than holding its own against schools that dwarf its roster.

Aulbach, swimmer extraordinaire by the collective opinion of all the coaches at the state meet, who named him outstanding male athlete of the event, brought in Petersburg's only first place prizes for the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races. 

With his record-breaking 100, he posted a time of 44.9, aggregate from two laps of 21.88 and 23.02, slightly less than two seconds faster the previous record of 46.27 from former Viking swimmer Derek Gibb. For the 50-yard rush, he pulled in his fastest single trip around the drink, taking only 21.13 seconds to go to the end and back.

"Every swimmer we had their scored points for us, and we ended up fourth place behind schools that had 10 times the student body we have," Coach Andy Carlisle said.

That placing continued a long running trend of high rankings in the state to complement almost habitual dominance in the region.

"We're usually in the top six, depending on who we have, who they have and all that jazz," he said.

Evan Marsh wasn't that far behind Aulbach for another 100-yard race, pulling in second at 52.5 seconds, only 0.61 seconds behind first, with a fast backstroke. He also took sixth in the 100-yard butterfly at 54.45 seconds.

"Our relays did real well - fourth in the 200 and 400 and eighth in the medley," Carlisle added.

The medley, which has a different stroke from each of the folks participating, came in at a total time of 1:54.16, about 17 seconds behind first. Van Abbott, Aaron Murph, Ian Fleming and Nels Evens made up that team, with Fleming returning alongside Marsh, Aulbach and Skipper Erickson for the 200, and Ben Higgins replacing Fleming for the 400.

The boys picked up times of 1:29.19 in the 200 and 3:19.31 for the 400 - about three and six seconds behind first places, respectively.

Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire

Petersburg's Skipper Erickson starts the boys 200 free relay during Saturday's state swim championships at Anchorage's Bartlett High School pool.

Izabelle Ith, the only girl to make the trip north, did well in her competitions as well, but fell just short of the printed numbers for diving and the 50-yard free, he said. "She got the times she wanted, and that's what was important."

As for who may be returning next year, the potential pool will definitely dwindle - almost all the team members are graduating seniors, he added.

"The only non-seniors we had were Ben Higgins and Van Abbott," he said, crossing his fingers for a bumper crop of young aquanauts in the coming year. "We'll get there; it always seems to work out."

Though the swimming season is over for the High School, Carlisle still will have his hands - and the pool - full for a while longer as he turns his attention to the youth that will be sized up to take on the competitive mantle.

This weekend, Middle School swimmers will take over the pool all day Friday and Saturday.


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