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Galena freshman headed to Junior Olympics, team relay makes swim team history

Freshman John Riddle is headed to next year's Junior Olympics.

Freshman John Riddle is headed to next year’s Junior Olympics. Photo by Sable Scotton.

By ANGELICA FIRMIN, staff writer

The Galena swim team made history competing for the first time ever as a relay team at the 2016 Wishbone Invitational Swim Meet in Fairbanks on Nov. 19.

Freshman John Riddle had made the qualifying Junior Olympic times for the 100-yard freestyle and the 50-yard freestyle. Although his times at the invitational will not count towards whether or not he officially qualifies to compete at the junior Olympics for the 2017 competition, his hard work in practice is showing results.

The relay team members in the 15 and over age group are Sarah Brown, Autumn Jensen-Roehl, Tirzah Bryant, and Angelica Firmin. The girls competed as a team in the IM medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay. They dropped 12.32 seconds from their IM medley relay seed time and 15.23 seconds from their 200-yard freestyle relay seed time.

The swimmers returned to Galena with sore bodies and plenty of new personal records.

On Friday, the long distance swimmers competed in the mile, swimming 1,650 yards for their first race of the season: Autumn Jensen-Roehl, Milo Huntington, Virgil Sam, and Angelica Firmin.

Saturday was the first day that all of the swimmers competed and Sunday was the last. They woke up at 6:30 a.m. each morning and were in the pool for warm-ups by 8 a.m. and racing by 9 a.m.

Swimmers 11 years old and older had to compete in prelims and could only swim in the afternoon finals if they qualified in the top six for their event. On Sunday the team celebrated their accomplishments with ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery.

This year the team is happy to announce that all of their swimmers on the team qualified for finals in their events either as an alternate or a qualified swimmer. Every member dropped time from their races, said Lynn Betterton, swim team coach. They also had a low number of swimmers with disqualifications (DQs) from their races.

Events that the team members competed in were events such as the 1650 (mile), 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, 200 IM (a swim event where all four swimming strokes are used: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle in that order), 200-yard backstroke, 200-yard breaststroke, 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard breaststroke, 50-yard freestyle, 50-yard backstroke, and more.

Time dropped by each swimmer in their events are listed below:
Hawken Scotton dropped 41.2 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle.
Tirzah Bryant dropped 12.59 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle.
Paul Huntington dropped 16.3 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle.
Maite Echenique dropped 11.31 seconds in the 50-yard backstroke.
Carlee Merriner dropped 19.61 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke.
Virgil “Bossman” Sam dropped 44.78 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke.
Lily Esmailka dropped 32.52 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke.
Sarah Brown dropped 24.73 seconds in the 200-yard breaststroke.
Lily Esmailka (first time for this event) dropped 8.34 seconds in the 50-yard butterfly.
Milo Huntington dropped 12.94 in the 50-yard butterfly.
John Riddle dropped 0.3 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly.
Maite Echenique dropped 25.74 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle.
John Riddle dropped .3 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle.
Autumn Jensen-Roehl dropped .68 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle.
200-yard IM:
Sarah Brown dropped 15.16 seconds.
Tirzah Bryant dropped 9.76 seconds.
Bossman Sam dropped 10.09 seconds.
100-yard IM;
Lily Esmailka dropped 34.34 seconds.
Milo Huntington dropped 39.06 seconds.
50-yard freestyle / 50-yard Breaststroke
Maite Echenique dropped 7.24 seconds and dropped 3.45 seconds, respectively.
Lily Esmailka dropped 11.93 seconds and dropped 11.07 seconds, respectively.
100-yard freestyle:
Carlee Merriner dropped 20.63 seconds.
Paul Huntington dropped 13.46 seconds.
Ian Esmailka dropped 3.2 seconds.
John Riddle dropped 1.15 seconds.
200-yard backstroke:
Carlee Mariner dropped 12.72 seconds.
Paul Huntington dropped 34.05 seconds.
Jed Ruchti dropped 1:04.61 seconds.
Jelly Firmin dropped 28.97 seconds.
500-yard freestyle:
Autumn Jensen-Roehl dropped 10.51 seconds.
Ian Esmailka dropped .28 seconds.

The Galena swim team would like to thank the community of Galena for their support, time, and donations that allows them to have the opportunity to travel and compete with other teams, said coach Betterton.