Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Dolphins host meet starting on Saturday


The Haines Dolphins swim team will host Juneau and Whitehorse squads at the annual Winter Games meet this weekend, Jan. 18-19.

Dolphins board member Thom Andriesen said about 75 swimmers are expected to participate, including nearly 20 from Haines.

“In terms of athletes on the team, this is one of the bigger sports programs in Haines, and that’s pretty impressive, being that it’s outside of school,” said coach Robert Butker.

The Winter Games will have morning and afternoon sessions on Saturday, running from 9 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m., with a lunch break. Sunday’s swims are slated for 9 a.m. to around noon.

The meet has free admission for spectators, and Butker said a big crowd can help fuel qualifying times for more competitive events later in the season.

“The more energy in the room, the more energy in the pool, and since we’re shooting for some age group and Junior Olympic times, we can use all the energy we can get,” he said.

The Dolphins are aiming to reduce their number of disqualifications at the Winter Games, such as for not touching the wall with two hands when making a turn on certain strokes. Butker said the team already has shown great progress avoiding disqualifications this season.

“Last year, we had a lot of disqualifications on the wall,” the second-year Haines coach said. “This last meet, Southeast Champs (in December), we had the least disqualifications of any meet since I’ve been a part of the Dolphins.”

Butker said swimmers shouldn’t expect any leniency from Haines judges who will determine the legality of each swim, and Andriesen agreed.

“They really need to know what they need to improve on and what problems they’re having,” Andriesen said. “It doesn’t help anybody to say, ‘Oh, we’ll let that one slide.’”

The Dolphins still are in need of timers at the meet, and Butker noted no previous experience is necessary. Andriesen said one incentive for volunteers is “all the food you can eat.” Call Leslie Ross at 314-0543 to sign up.