January 9, 2014 | Volume 44, Number 1

Dolphins: 7 medals at SE Champs

Eight Haines Dolphins showed they rank among the best young swimmers in the region by posting impressive results at the Southeast Champs meet Dec. 6-8 in Juneau.

The meet drew teams from Craig, Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg and Sitka.

“We walked away with seven medals and a lot of fourth-places, barely missing medal status,” said coach Robert Butker.

Rio Ross-Hirsh posted a number of those fourth-place finishes, in the 25-yard backstroke, butterfly and freestyle, and the 50-yard freestyle. Fittingly, she placed fourth overall in individual scoring for the girls’ 8-and-under division.

Rylee Tonsgard was third in the 25-yard backstroke, fourth in the 50-yard backstroke and seventh overall as an individual in the same age group as Ross-Hirsh.

“They are inseparable, and in practice and in life, you can’t have one without the other,” Butker said of the two 7-year-olds. “It’s really great, because they push each other.”

Brennan Palmieri placed fifth overall for boys in the 9-10 age group. He was first in the 100-yard breaststroke, second in the 50-yard breaststroke, third in the 200-yard individual medley, and fourth in both the 50-yard butterfly and100-yard IM.

In the 11-12 girls’ age bracket, Skye Posey placed 13th overall; Elena Saunders, 15th; and Naomi Green, 19th.

Posey’s top result was a third-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke.

Saunders trimmed nine seconds from her previous best time in the 200-yard breaststroke, on her way to third place.

“In the world of swimming, that’s huge,” Butker said. “That doesn’t happen very often, that someone drops nine seconds in one event.”

Dylan Palmieri and Jasper Posey also swam at Southeast Champs, which required entrants to post qualifying times to earn a spot.

“The interesting thing to note is whatever place these kids placed in Southeast Champs, it is representative of all of Southeast Alaska,” Butker said.

The Dolphins tallied their results despite a ferry cancellation that prevented all but three Haines swimmers from arriving in Juneau in time for the opening swims on Friday.

The team next is scheduled to host its annual home meet, Jan. 18-19 at the Haines pool.