Dimond Girls Win Alaska State Title in Runaway; Service Boys Win on Final Race

2019 Alaska High School Swimming & Diving Championship

It has been an emotional year for the girls’ swimming & diving team at Dimond High School in Anchorage, with the program becoming a source of national attention over a swimmer’s suit, but the season ended on a high note last weekend when they won the Alaska High School State Championship for the 5th-straight season.

They were joined in the winners’ circle by the boys of Robert Service High School, which also defended their title.

Girls’ Meet

Top 5:

  1. Dimond High School – 100
  2. Eagle River High School – 74
  3. West Valley High SChool – 65
  4. Sitka High School – 60
  5. Homer High School – 44

Led by sisters Breckynn Willis and Dreamer Kowatch, who were at the center of the aforementioned controversy, Dimond High School stacked and swept the 200 free relays in finals of the meet.

In the 200 free relay mid-meet, Willis (25.34), Mikayla Terry (24.58), Brooke Dittlinger (24.97), and one the state’s best swimmers Kowatch (23.97) combined for a 1:38.86. Then, at the end of the meet, with the team title out-of-reach, almost the same group combined for a 3:37.40 in the 400 free relay. The splits in that event were Willis (54.94), Terry (54.72), Hannah Boyce (55.55), and Kowatch (52.19). Dimond won both of those events last year as well when they also took the team title.

Individually, Kovatch won the 100 free in 52.63, beating out Lathrop High School’s Katy McCarter, who was 2nd in 52.88. In her other individual event, she finished 2nd in the 200 IM in 2:08.55, behind Homer High School’s Madison Story, who won in 2:07.07. Last year, Kovatch was the state champion in the 500 free, and also the runner-up in the 200 IM.

McCarter got her win in the 50 free in 24.53.

The lone double winner individually on the girls’ side of the meet was McKenzie Fazio from Eagle River High School, who ran away with titles in both the 200 free (1:53.36) and 500 free (5:11.73), taking margins of 5 seconds and 6 seconds in those races, respectively.

Other Girls Winners:

  • Eagle River’s Elizabeth Mercer won the girls’ 100 backstroke in 56.77, defending her titles from last year (and swimming a second-and-a-half faster).
  • Mercer led off Eagle River’s 200 medley relay with a 26.65 to give her team a big lead, and then her teammates roared for home with the team of Hannah Shaw (32.95), Kiara Borchardt (25.66), and McKenzie Fazio (23.59) carrying them to a win.
  • Seward sophomore Lydia Jacoby won the girls’ 100 breaststroke in 1:00.77, defending her title from last year and swimming nearly 2 seconds faster. Last year, as a freshman, she also won the 200 IM, but was only 3rd this season.
  • Carrie Mayer from Wasilla High School won the girls’ 1-meter diving event. She was part of a Wasilla sweep of the diving races, with Andrew Layman winning the boys’ event.

Boys’ Meet

Top 5:

  1. Robert Service – 102
  2. Dimond High School – 99
  3. West Valley High – 49
  4. Eagle River High – 40
  5. Juneau Douglas High School – 36

The boys from Robert Service High School also defended their team title in the 200 free relay, just-barely fighting off the Dimond High School boys and preventing a sweep.

A small but mighty group of boys from Robert Service High School won the 2019 Alaska High School State Championship (Courtesy: Service High SChool)

Unlike in the girls’ meet, this one did come down to the final relay. Service High School entered the closing 400 free relay 1 point behind Dimond High School, which meant that whichever team finished better in that relay would win the meet.

Service High School put their best swimmer, Brian Jarupakorn, on the leadoff leg, and he swam 46.44 to open up better than a 2 seconds lead at the first exchange. That was a bold move for Service, and it paid off as they wound up cruising to a victory in 3:11.15. The rest of the winning relay team was Nicholas Price (48.37), Ethan Kwon (49.48), and Tavner Wisdom (46.86). Dimond HIgh took 2nd in 3:13.89.

Dimond won the meet-opening 200 medley relay in 1:37.64 – that was a relay that Service didn’t actually race in, which meant they were playing catchup for most of the meet. Service instead focused on the free relays, and they also won in 1:25.99, with Dimond 2nd in 1:27.64 Jarupakorn led off the Service 200 free relay in 20.88.

Jarupakorn had a big meet, swimming to a 4-for-4 day. Individually, he won the 50 free in 20.53, and then won the 100 fly in 49.90. Last season, Jarupakorn won 2 entirely different races – the 100 fly and 100 back. In 2 seasons, he’s won 4 state titles individually in 3 different events. His older sister Wanlaya is also a state champion, having won the 50 free in 2017.

Service also picked up a pair of wins from junior Tavner Wisdom, who took the 200 free in 1:44.65 and the 100 breast in 57.14. The men’s 200 free was arguably the best race of the meet: Wisdom only beat-out Dimond’s Jesse Tatakis by .11 seconds, and the top 4 were separated by only 6-tenths at the finish.

Yet another service junior, Nicholas Price, picked up a pair of individual wins. He took the 200 IM in 1:55.93 and the 100 back in 52.29 (a .13 second margin of victory). With those 3 swimmers all returning next season, Service will be favorites for a three-peat in 2020.

Dimond, meanwhile, kept up with huge depth compared to Service. Besides winning that 200 medley relay, on several occasions they had multiple swimmers in the A-finals, like a 2-3 finish in the 200 free.

Other Event Winners:

  • Wasilla’s Andrew Layman won the boys’ 1-meter diving event by almost 40 points, giving Wasilla a sweep of the diving events at the state championship meet. He and girls’ champion Carrie Mayer describe themselves as having been best friends since 4th grade.
  • West Valley’s Ezra Billings won the boys’ 100 free in 47.84, beating-out a pair of Dimond swimmers Jesse Tatakis (47.91) and Scott Babbitt (48.16).
  • Juneau Douglas High School’s Caleb Peimann won the 500 free in 4:46.88

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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