The Haines Dolphins aren’t exactly “amateurs,” as a few of them took home cash prizes following the season-opening meet in Whitehorse, Y.T., Nov. 1-2.
Seventeen Haines swimmers competed in the “international dual meet,” said Dolphins president James Alborough.
“The highlight of that meet is the 50-meter freestyle, in which the kids get cash prizes for first, second and third,” Alborough said.
Rio Ross-Hirsh, 7, earned first place and $25 as the winner of the girls’ 8-and-under division, with a time of 52.02 seconds. Jasper Posey, 15, won the boys’ 13-and-over event in 30.93 seconds. Brennan Palmieri, 10, was third in the boys’ 9-10 race in 38.80 seconds.
Alborough said Dolphins who didn’t leave the meet with extra cash likely brought back “a bunch of ribbons.”
“The format of that meet is to reward all swimmers who get best times,” he said. “If you go in and you beat your time, you get a ribbon.”
Both Alborough and coach Robert Butker credited Dylan Palmieri, 15, for enduring the 400-meter individual medley, a nearly seven-minute race. Palmieri finished fifth and said the event is “really tiring” and “definitely not overrated.”
“Last year, I took a break from swimming, so I was not ready for it, at all,” Palmieri said. “It completely destroyed me for like 20 minutes after. By the end of this year, I want to get to the point where I do it, and after it, be like, ‘Yeah, I’m tired, but I can go do something else now.’”
The 8-and-under Dolphins also were impressive, Butker said.
“Our younger swimmers, specifically, Rio, Rylee (Tonsgard) and Jackson (Long), who just recently got promoted to ‘B,’ they all swam 100-meter events,” he said. “We had these small, 7-and 8-year-olds right next to 13-and 14-year-olds, swimming the exact same events.”
Butker said he is expecting about 10 Dolphins to make the trip to Petersburg for a Nov. 22-24 meet, where swimmers will attempt to achieve qualifying times for December’s Southeast Champs competition in Juneau.