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

Haines Dolphins cap season with team awards


The Haines Dolphins swim team wrapped up its season last month with a meet in Whitehorse and an awards banquet.

Dylan Chapell, Naomi Green, Brennan Palmieri, Jasper and Skye Posey, Rio Ross-Hirsh, Elena Saunders and Rylee Tonsgard represented the Dolphins at the Yukon Champs meet April 25-26 at the Canada Games Centre.

“Brennan Palmieri placed first in his age-group (10 and under) for most points scored,” said coach Robert Butker.

Six Dolphins performed well enough in preliminary events to advance to finals.

Butker noted Chapell showed big gains at the competition. The 11-year-old went on to be named the Dolphins’ most improved boy swimmer.

“Dylan cumulatively dropped just under a minute from three of his races – the 100 and 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke,” Butker said. “That’s an incredible achievement.”

Chapell, a sixth-grader, said he joined the Dolphins in first grade, stopped for two years, and then returned. He said consistent attendance at practice was key to his success this season.

“Almost every week, I made it there three days a week, and made sure I got there,” Chapell said.

He received his award at the season-closing barbecue in Haines on April 29. Tonsgard was named the most improved girl swimmer. Other honorees included Skye Posey, Team Leader; Hayden Jimenez, Most Spirited; Emma Dohrn, Iron Dolphin; and Kamakana Kanahele, Sportsmanship. Certificates and medals were distributed to all team members.

Jimenez, a first-grader, was part of a record-setting Swim-a-Thon fundraiser for the Dolphins, as the team raised $20,332, an average of around $800 per participant. Both were all-time highs for the team, and Jimenez’s haul of more than $3,000 was the second-highest in team history. Skye Posey, Jasper Posey, Ross-Hirsh, Chapell and Zander Willard each raised more than $1,000.

Skye Posey, 13, the Team Leader award recipient, said she had strong attendance at practice and would like to add more long-distance events next year, such as the 400-yard individual medley. She said the Dolphins benefited from having Butker coach for a second season.

“The team ended on a strong, positive note this year,” Butker said. “We had just over 30 swimmers at the season’s peak and ended with 26.”


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