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By JOE JUDD
Daily News Sports Editor
Five members of the Ketchikan High School swimming and diving team competed at the Bartlett pool over the weekend in the 2017 Swim and Dive State Championships in Anchorage.
It was the last official competition of the high school season until next year for the Kayhi squad, which mostly consists of individuals who swim a part of the year instead of year-round.
Kayhi head coach Patrick Burda said on Tuesday that he felt his team performed well on the bigger stage in Anchorage, especially when it came to team work and motivation.
“I thought it was a real successful weekend,” Burda said. “In the pool and out of the pool, I think we got behind each other well. We were positive with each other.”
Despite the long and tiring weekend, Burda said he thought that his team performed well, claiming that this weekend’s state meet was the best one he has been involved with since he began coaching at Kayhi
Burda commended the positive attitude put on display by the Kings during the many practices, meets and plane trips his student-athletes have shared this season.
“The kids seem to enjoy what they did,” Burda said. “They seem to learn from what they’ve done. Everyone had a positive experience in some form.”
Burda also went on to say that this season of coaching was his favorite since he first came to Ketchikan.
As far as the performances inside of the Bartlett pool were concerned, Kayhi’s Laura Sherrill was the highest-placing of her fellow Ketchikan teammates, finishing in third place in the girls 100-yard butterfly preliminary race in just under a minute.
Sherrill finished in sixth place in the finals, with a final time of 59.59.
“(Laura) is a competitor,” Burda said. “There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that she would figure out how to squeak into the finals there. She did a really nice job and was happy with how she did.”
In Sherrill’s case — as is the case with swimmers and divers across Southeast Alaska — being a swimmer who goes all year is somewhat of a rarity.
This has done nothing to hinder her willingness to train and compete, according to her coach.
“She has the talent and knows how to compete,” Burda said. “The pool is not as big as it is in other states, so having that drive and that push can sometimes trump the lack of training kids might have.”
Not having a specific list of names who of swim throughout the year is something Burda typically has had to plan around when in transition from one season to the next.
He said an individual’s expectation level must match his or her level of commitment; Burda said that having fun is ultimately the main goal for swimming at the high school level.
“If I see more talent out of the kids, I encourage them to continue and be in the water more often so we can exploit that talent and get them to the best they can be.”
In addition to Sherrill’s quality time in the girls 100-yard butterfly competition, Maury Meiresonne finished 12th overall in the boys 50-yard freestyle race and Emma Campbell came in 15th in the girls 500-yard freestyle race.
Zoe Spencer finished the girls 100-yard breaststroke in 15th place overall.
Diver Jessi Sivertsen finished with a score of 188.15 in the semi-finals, which was good enough for 12th place overall.
As a team, the Kings tied with Juneau-Douglas High School at 18th overall with three total points for the competition.
Dimond High School’s 97 points were good enough for the top spot in the girls’ rankings and Thunder Mountain High School finished in first place with 94 points in the boys competition.