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

Dolphins plunge into swim season


Members of the Haines Dolphins swim team are about to take a two-week break from the pool, after packing three meets into a monthlong stretch.

The Dolphins will have dry practices during the stint the pool is closed for pool lighting replacement. Work is tentatively expected to run from Dec. 8-22.

Though swimmers will be eager to get back in the pool, November meets on consecutive weekends at Whitehorse and Petersburg and preparation for this weekend’s Southeast Champs competition in Juneau have helped the Dolphins make big gains in a short time.

“I know it was hard for the kids (to compete in back to back weeks), because they’re not used to it, and it was really awesome to see them push through it,” said head coach Robert Butker. “That was a great experience for them.”

At the Ryan Downing Memorial Swim Meet in Whitehorse, “experienced swimmers (age 11 and up) challenged themselves in swimming in a 25-meter pool, but still managed to have many personal best times before the conversion factor,” said assistant coach Marian Carlson.

She noted Dylan Chapell,12 ,and Skye Posey, 13, achieved “significant personal bests in many events.”

“The swim meet awards ribbons for personal best times, not for places in events,” Carlson said. “I especially like this, as it motivates athletes to work hard and achieve a personal best time.”

Rylee Tonsgard, 8, placed second in the 8 and under freestyle, against a field of six Whitehorse swimmers in the final.

Nine Haines swimmers competed in Petersburg the following weekend: Chapell, Posey, 11-year-old Brennan Palmieri; 13-year-olds Aurora and Brandt Alten-Huber, Naomi Green, and Elena Saunders; and 16-year-olds Dylan Palmieri and Jasper Posey.

“Dylan Chapell, basically everything he swam, he got a personal best time in,” Butker said. “He dropped upwards of 20 seconds on a 100, which is huge.”

Brennan Palmieri and Skye Posey earned Junior Olympic qualifying times in multiple events, he said.

Teams from Craig, Juneau and Ketchikan traveled to Petersburg for the meet and swam alongside the Dolphins.

“While we were in Petersburg, so many parents from other teams actually commented on how polite and well-behaved our swimmers were,” Butker said. “Ours were the only swimmers who stayed in the water and waited for everybody, shook hands and said ‘good job’ to the other teams. I was really proud of them for that.”


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