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Ketchikan hosts home meet this weekend
Ketchikan High School swimmer Tyler Merle competes in the 100-yard butterfly on Oct. 12, 2018 during Ketchikan’s swim meet at the Gateway Aquatic Center. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Daily News Sports Editor

The season might be winding down, but workouts have been ramping up.

Since the beginning of August, the Ketchikan High School swim and dive team has been practicing nine times a week. But the squad hasn’t missed a beat.

“(Practices) have been going well,” Ketchikan head coach Gary Crowe said earlier this week. “The kids are working hard. They’re feeling the affect of swimming hard since the start of the season. They’re tired ... but they’re doing a good job. I mean, everybody’s here. We have nine practices a week, and they’ve been coming to all of them.”

And that hard work has paid off.

Both the boys’ and girls’ squads won their respective meets in Sitka earlier this season, and Ketchikan had a strong showing during the Juneau Invitational on Sept. 20.

Since then, Ketchikan has been looking toward this weekend when it will host its invitational on Friday and Saturday at the Gateway Aquatic Center.

Friday’s meet is set to begin at 4:30 p.m. Saturday will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Petersburg, Craig, Wrangell, Sitka, Thunder Mountain and Juneau-Douglas high schools also will compete.

“According to the kids, they’ve done things this season that they haven’t done in the past ... They’re getting used to success,” Crowe said. “Let’s see if we can keep it going. It’s a tough thing to do.”

Ketchikan has been focusing its practices on turns, and not circle swimming during races.

“In practice, you have so many kids in the lane, you have to circle swim,” Crowe said. “So that’s a big thing. Trying to get them to go straight up and down the line, and then work their turns — speed turns.”

A large chunk of that is muscle memory.

“Swimming is like anything else,” Crowe said. “You go into (automatic), and forget about what you’re supposed to be doing. You go back to what you do in practice, instead of what you should be doing.”

Ketchikan also has worked on not breathing off the walls.

“We’re (working on) that all the time,” he said.

Crowe said he expects to have four divers compete this weekend, including Caity Pearson.

Pearson has won several competitions thus far this season.

“She’s been the best diver in the region,” Crowe said. “So hopefully she keeps that up.”

This weekend represents Ketchikan’s lone home meet. But it also will be a return to Ketchikan competition for Crowe, who coached in the First City in the 1990s.

“I haven’t seen racing in this pool,” he said. “I want to see how it is. I’m excited to see (that). ... I think it’ll be a good meet.”

Season end in sight

Following its home meet, Ketchikan will travel to Petersburg on Oct. 18-19, before it heads to Sitka on Nov. 1-2 for the Region V championships.

Senior Recognition

Before the Ketchikan swim and dive meet begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, seniors from Ketchikan and Craig will be honored. Ketchikan will honor the nine seniors on its roster. Craig has one senior on roster.