With only six swimmers on their roster, the Sitka Wolves used a team strategy to take second place at the state meet in Anchorage over the weekend.
Coach Robby Jarvill has made no secret of his emphasis on the three big relay events to score points. The strategy paid off in Juneau, where the Wolves took the regional title by one point, and worked again at Bartlett High School last Saturday.
Sitka and state champion Dimond High were the only schools to place teams in each of the three relays. Sitka took 5th in the 200 free, 4th in the 400 free, and 3rd in the 200 medley relays.
Each of these races alone is grueling for the four swimmers that comprise a relay team. But Jarvill had only six boys to spread over the three events: Louis Belley, R.J. Miller, Evan Harrington, Carl Brenner, Jacob Reid, and Spencer Combs.
With this lineup, Jarvill says having the right swimmers arrive at the state meet in peak form is “like a game of chess.” In this case, the strategy pivoted on Belley and Reid.
“Their taper was made for the state weekend. All the other boys had to be at their best just to make it to state and get those three relays qualified. And those two were strong enough in their events to swim through regionals, you might say, and then peak for that Saturday at state. And they both hit it wonderfully.”
Besides swimming in Sitka’s 3rd place 200 medley relay team, senior Jacob Reid took second in the 100 breast (setting a personal record), and second in the 100 free. Both finishes added critical points to Sitka’s team score.
“I’ve been coaching Jacob since he was nine years old, and he absolutely had the most wonderful day he’s ever had in the swimming pool,” said Jarvill.
Belley swam :53.38 in the 100 back, taking second place by just a few hundredths of a second. Nevertheless, Jarvill says that the sophomore will have his name posted on the wall with other record holders at Blatchley pool.
“It was just a matter of time until he was going to break out from the pack. He PR’d in everything; both his swims were school records. He broke Travis Watson’s 200 IM record, and then bettered his 100 back record that he set at regionals.”
This was the last competition for seniors Reid and Evan Harrington. Those two swimmers, plus Sara Rasmussen-Rehkopf and Dawn McMaster on the girls’ side, are Jarvill’s only losses to graduation. But he says Sitka High swimming is on an upswing.
“There’s a good junior high group and it should be exciting. We’ll get some more girls out there to swim with Megan and Maddy. They both had wonderful weekends. Megan Reid got 6th in the 50 free, which was a very competitive race, and Maddy Chadwick got 12th in the 100 breast (and Megan was 13th). We’ll get a few more girls in there to swim with those returning girls, and we should have fun.”