• State qualifiers gear up for weekend showdown at Bartlett
By Sean Pearson
Unless you have attended a dive meet before, you can’t really appreciate a crowd’s ability to go from 120 decibels of full-on, bleacher-stomping cheers to complete silence in .47 seconds.
Nothing, however, could to shake the confidence of Mariner diver Brian Rowe as he executed his dives at the Region III 1-Meter Dive Competition finals on Saturday at Kate Kuhns Aquatic Center.
Rowe, a junior, scored 333.65 points to take first in the event. He finished nearly 11 points ahead of his next-closest competitor, Cody Gross of Kenai.
Rowe wasn’t the only Homer diver giving Mariner fans something to cheer about. Lady Mariner sophomore diver Jasmine Lewis finished second in the dive finals, racking up 302.4 points overall. Kodiak’s Sophie Hogen finished first with 361.7 points.
“I was so happy with my finish,” Lewis said of her performance. “I should have upped my degrees of difficulty to get a higher score.”
Lewis said she plans to raise her degrees of difficulty at this weekend’s State meet at Bartlett High School. Her goal is to beat the Homer High School record for total points awarded in a dive meet.
Lady Mariner Katherine Dolma also turned in a strong diving performance, finishing fourth with a score of 256.35 points.
And – just when you thought it couldn’t get any louder – swimmers took to the pool to face off in a battle for Region III titles.
Mariner junior Connections student James Nagle said he had no idea if he had won or not when he touched at the end of the 100-yard butterfly finals.
“My entire body was exhausted,” Nagle said. “It took me a good couple of seconds before I could even look at the scoreboard.”
The numbers don’t lie.
Nagle outstretched Dustin Hunter of Soldotna by .23 seconds to take first and claim the Region III title.
“I thought I swam my best,” Nagle said. “I don’t think I could have swum it much better.”
Still, Nagle says he hopes to do even better at State.
“My next goal is to final in the top eight at State,” Nagle said. “It will be really hard, but hopefully I can do it.”
James Nagle also placed fourth in the 200 individual medley, while brother Mark finished fourth in the 500 freestyle, and sixth in the 200 freestyle.
As a team, the Mariner boys placed fourth overall, while the Lady M’s finished sixth. Pool powerhouse Kodiak took first in both boys and girls divisions, earning 105 and 121 points, respectively.
In girls swim action, Cheyanne Smith finished third in the 200 IM with a time of 2 minutes. 27.63 seconds. She then went on to finish fourth in the 100 breaststroke. Her time was 1:19.07.
Homer boys’ relay team placed third in the 400 freestyle relay, finishing in 3:46.61. The M’s also took fifth in the 200 medley relay.
With a full season behind them and one weekend of State competition left, James Nagle said it helps to have a couple of extra days to focus on swimming this week.
”Luckily we won’t need to do too much since we have parent/teacher conferences this week,” Nagle explained. “That gives me a lot more time to spend in the pool.”
Lewis said she’s not too worried about staying focused on her school curriculum, even with the State diving finals looming in the background.
“School is easy,” she said. “All I need to focus on is my math and I should be just fine.”
The 2012 Alaska State Swimming and Diving Championships will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Bartlett High School in Anchorage.
Homer individual results (Girls)
200 IM: 3. Cheyanne Smith, 2:27.63;
1m dive: 2. Jasmine Lewis, 302 points; 4. Katherine Dolma, 256.35.
100 breast: 4. Cheyanne Smith,1:19.07.
Homer individual results (Boys)
200 medley relay: 5. Homer 1:57.46.
200 freestyle: 6. Mark Nagel, 1:59.74.
200 IM: 4. J. Nagle, 2:11.44.
1m dive: 1. Brian Rowe, 333.65 points.
100 butterfly: 1. James Nagle, 55.77.
500 freestyle: 4. Mark Nagle, 5:17.78.
400 freestyle relay: 3. Homer 3:46.61.
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