Dolphins celebrate new starting blocks


January 23, 2020

Kyle Clayton

Lucia Chapell and Pacific Ricke dive from their new starting blocks Tuesday, Jan. 21.

The Haines Dolphins swim team dove off their new starting blocks Tuesday, giving Pacific Ricke just a few days to practice on them before competing in the Senior Champs meet this weekend in Anchorage.

Ricke, 12, was fast enough to qualify for the meet in Anchorage that typically hosts 13 to 23 year olds. Her qualifying time for the 50-meter freestyle was 2 seconds under the minimum time to qualify and her 200-meter backstroke time was .02 seconds under. She swam those times during a competition last summer.

The pool reconstruction delays kept athletes from practicing until early December. "It feels good to get back to training," Ricke said. "It's really exciting to finally have the blocks."

Swim coach Jackie St. Clair said the new blocks now meet USA Swimming standards. "These are the blocks that are in the rest of Southeast and the rest of the state," St. Clair said. "There's more continuity between what they practice on and what they use in competition, which is beneficial."

Grants and donations from the Chapell and Ricke families helped purchase the new blocks. An additional three will arrive in the next few weeks, St. Clair said. Each starting block costs $2,800.

Now that they're installed, the Haines Dolphins can again host swim meets, which it plans to do in March, St. Clair said.


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