Soldotna’s Ethan Evans races in the boys 100-yard breaststroke final Saturday at the ASAA state swimming and diving championship at the Bartlett pool in Anchorage. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Ethan Evans races in the boys 100-yard breaststroke final Saturday at the ASAA state swimming and diving championship at the Bartlett pool in Anchorage. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

State swimming: Story ends 26-year title drought for Homer girls

Growing up in a swimming family, Madison Story knew her mother had a history in the sport. But it wasn’t until an offhand comment made by a teammate just last year opened her eyes to just how fast her mom, Corise Story, used to be.

“This guy was bragging about his time in the 200 back(stroke) and my mom was like, ‘Actually I have a faster time,’” Story recounted.

Now Story can say she’s on the same level as her mom. Story joined her mother in the annals of Alaska state championship swimming Saturday with a victory in the girls 200-yard individual medley at the Bartlett pool in Anchorage.

With the win, Story became the first Homer girl to win a state swim crown in 26 years, going back to her mother, formerly Corise Bittner. A 1994 Homer grad, Corise won three state titles in the 100 backstroke and a title in the 200 IM, the same event her daughter won Saturday.

Story raced to the victory in 2 minutes, 7.07 seconds, beating out the likes of Dimond ace Dreamer Kowatch and Seward phenom Lydia Jacoby, who won the state breaststroke title by lowering her own record. Kowatch finished second in 2:08.55 while Jacoby was third in 2:09.83.

The win was the first state title for a Homer athlete in a swim event since 2011 and the first state title – swimming or diving — for Homer since 2013.

“My mom’s been my biggest supporter all my life,” Story said. “I’m extremely happy, it’s been my goal since I was young.”

Corise was poolside with her husband, Paul, to watch their daughter’s achievement, and said seeing Madison reach that goal after picking up the sport at age 7 filled her heart with pride.

“She’s always been a strong little swimmer,” Story said. “And we love it when she gets out of the pool and looks up at us.”

The win was the only victory for Homer on Saturday, but the Mariners finished fifth in the statewide team race 44 points. Behind Homer, the peninsula also got team finishes of 11th from Seward and 19th from Soldotna. The Dimond Lynx won the team title with 100 points, beating runner-up Eagle River by 26 points.

The boys championship was won by the Service Cougars, who amassed 102 points to nip Dimond by three points. Kenai Central led the peninsula in ninth with 24 points, while Seward was 10th with 18 points. Soldotna finished 12th with 13 points.

In addition to Story’s accomplishment, the Homer girls also got a second-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay, with Story joining Ella Blanton-Yourkowski, Adeline Berry and Delta Fabich in the silver-medal effort, as well as a third place in the 200 freestyle relay with the same four swimmers.

The 200 IM wasn’t a runaway in the early legs. Story had to pace with Kowatch, who led after 50 yards by 0.27 seconds. By the 100-yard mark, Story had eked out a slim lead of 0.03 seconds, but the breaststroke was where Story made her move.

By the end of the breaststroke leg, Story had pulled out a 1.3-second lead over Jacoby, who passed Kowatch for second, and by the end, that was enough to hang on as Kowatch came back strong on the freestyle.

“I had to be confident,” Story said. “Dreamer’s a really good butterflyer and backstroker, and Lydia is obviously an amazing breaststroker.”

The victory also took on extra meaning for Story after battling two years of injuries that kept her from reaching her potential in the pool. Story said she’s shaken those injuries off and has reached new heights.

“I had a couple rough years, I didn’t do great at swimming,” Story said. “(But) my mom told me that everyone wants it bad, so you’ve got to race, you’ve got to go get it.”

Jacoby had a big day as well. The Seward sophomore lowered her own state record in the girls 100 breaststroke with a sizzling time of 1:00.61, her top effort within Alaska (Jacoby previously swam a 1:00.41 at a Seattle meet). Last year as a freshman, Jacoby posted a 1:03.11 to crush the previous state record.

Then, last week at the Region III meet, Jacoby dropped her time to 1:01.93, putting the state on notice that she was coming up with intentions of repeating.

“I’m really excited about it,” Jacoby said. “I wish I could’ve gotten a couple (tenths) faster, to get under that minute mark, but I’m really excited about beating my time from last year.”

Jacoby pulled away quickly in the race, with only her good friend Story threatening behind. Story finished second in the event at 1:03.57, a time still good enough to win most years.

The event was yet another edition of the racing rivalry the two peninsula athletes share, and Jacoby said racing her good friend and competitor from Homer is always something she looks forward to. Jacoby added that she was thrilled to see Story notch her first state title.

“I love racing with Maddy, she’s one of my best friends,” she said. “We’re obviously really competitive, but I’m super happy for her.”

Seward also got a podium finish on the boys side from senior Connor Spanos, who raced to third in the 100 butterfly with a time of 53.15 seconds, lowering his own Seward school record by 0.32 seconds. Hunter Hollingsworth also made the 100 free final for Seward and finished eighth.

The Soldotna Stars came close to breaking a 16-year championship drought in swimming races as junior Ethan Evans racked up two podium finishes. Evans took second in the boys 100 breaststroke and third in the 50 free, lowering his personal bests in both events by a third of a second. His time of 21.26 seconds in the 50 free lowered his own school record in the event.

Evans said the sprint nature of the race makes for an event that rewards an aggressive swimmer that also has the ability to stay in control.

“The 50 is one of those races that the margin of error is so small,” Evans said. “One thing wrong messes up the whole race.”

In the breaststroke, Evans led the field at the halfway mark, but Wisdom posted a fast final lap to beat Evans by almost a second.

“After the first 50, I thought maybe I’m on pace to get him,” he said. “But the next 25 wasn’t good for me.”

The Soldotna girls team of Madison Snyder, Alex Juliussen, Katie Creglow and Madelyn Barkman finished eighth in the 200 freestyle relay.

The Kenai boys were led by Owen Rolph in the 100 butterfly final and Koda Poulin in the 500 free final. Rolph finished sixth in the butterfly while Poulin took eighth in the 500-yard endurance event.

The Kardinals also took fifth in the boys 200 freestyle relay, with Rolph and Poulin joining Trevor Bagley and Sorin Sorensen in the effort.

ASAA State Swimming and Diving championships

Saturday at Bartlett pool

GIRLS

Team scores — 1. Dimond, 100 points; 2. Eagle River, 74; 3. West Valley, 65; 4. Sitka, 60; 5. Homer, 44; 6. Lathrop, 28; 7. South, 26; 8. Thunder Mountain, 21; 9. Colony, 20; 10. Kodiak, 18; 11. Seward, 15; 12. Wasilla, 14; 12. Palmer, 14; 14. Monroe Catholic, 11; 14. Hutchison, 11; 16. Ketchikan, 8; 17. Chugiak, 7; 18. Juneau, 6; 19. Soldotna, 4; 20. Wrangell, 3; 20. West, 3; 22. Valdez, 1.

Individual results

200 medley relay — 1. Eagle River (Mercer, Shaw, Borchardt, Fazio), 1:48.85; 2. Homer, 1:51.38; 3. Dimond, 1:52.29; 4. West Valley, 1:52.83; 5. Sitka, 1:53.22; 6. Colony, 1:53.51; 7. South, 1:53.61; 8. Thunder Mountain, DQ.

200 freestyle — 1. McKenzie Fazio, ER, 1:53.36; 2. Breckynn Willis, Dim, 1:58.28; 3. Emma Gassman, Sit, 2:00.27; 4. Leslie Spear, Kod, 2:00.40; 5. Allie Morgan, TM, 2:00.45; 6. Mesa Moran, Jun, 2:02.38; 7. Hannah Boyce, Dim, 2:02.49; 8. Shannon McCallum, Hut, 2:02.52.

200 IM — 1. Madison Story, Hom, 2:07.07; 2. Dreamer Kowatch, Dim, 2:08.55; 3. Lydia Jacoby, Sew, 2:09.83; 4. Patty Eppingher, WV, 2:12.70; 5. Laura Sherrill, Ket, 2:14.22; 6. Samantha Bristor, WV, 2:15.18; 7. Sophia Schwantes, Sit, 2:17.34; 8. Shelby Thompson, Chu, 2:18.68.

50 freestyle — 1. Katy McCarter, Lat, 24.53; 2. Grace Harang, Sit, 24.57; 3. Elizabeth Mercer, ER, 24.89; 4. Brooke Dittlinger, Dim, 25.06; 5. Aubrey Cheng, Sou, 24.20; 6. Isabelle Borke, Dim, 25.21; 7. Victoria Schachle, Mon, 25.36; 8. Renee Roberts, Wra, 25.71.

Diving — 1. Carrie Mayer, Was, 437.05; 2. Jenna Walch, Dim, 397.75; 3. Tyler Coffman, Pal, 387.55; 4. Grace Greene, Hut, 372.85; 5. Lily Collins, Was, 363.70; 6. Taylor Miller, Pal, 343.40; 7. Ally Hrncir, Pal, 328.45; 8. Audrey Dietz, Was, 324.30.

100 butterfly — 1. Kiara Borchardt, ER, 57.47; 2. Breckynn Willis, Dim, 57.71; 3. Summer Cheng, Sou, 58.85; 4. Sophia Schwantes, Sit, 1:00.00; 5. Laura Sherrill, Ket, 1:00.02; 6. Alison Narog, Kod, 1:00.22; 7. Adeline Berry, Hom, 1:00.50; 8. Nancy Liddle, TM, 1:02.98.

100 freestyle — 1. Dreamer Kowatch, Dim, 52.63; 2. Katy McCarter, Lat, 52.88; 3. Shelby Thompson, Chu, 54.29; 4. Samantha Bristor, WV, 54.43; 5. Allie Morgan, TM, 54.72; 6. Ally Ferguson, Pal, 55.72; 7. Renee Roberts, Wra, 55.73; 8. Joscelyn Barrette, Col, 55.77.

500 freestyle — 1. McKenzie Fazio, ER, 5:11.73; 2. Grace Harang, Sit, 5:17.41; 3. Emma Gassman, Sit, 5:17.71; 4. Cassidy Welsh, Hut, 5:18.65; 5. Meah McCallum, WV, 5:25.89; 6. Ryann Dorris, Wes, 5:26.69; 7. Nancy Liddle, TM, 5:29.68; 8. Naomi Burgan, Dim, 5:32.01.

200 free relay — 1. Dimond (Willis, Terry, Dittlinger, Kowatch), 1:38.86; 2. Eagle River, 1:39.65; 3. Homer, 1:41.38; 4. West Valley, 1:42.89; 5. Colony, 1:44.12; 6. Lathrop, 1:44.15; 7. Sitka, 1:45.35; 8. Soldotna, 1:45.45.

100 backstroke — 1. Elizabeth Mercer, ER, 56.77; 2. Heidi Billings, WV, 57.79; 3. Summer Cheng, Sou, 59.60; 4. Victoria Schachle, Mon, 1:01.63; 5. Hannah Boyce, Dim, 1:02.35; 6. Tahlia Gerger, Jun, 1:02.92; 7. Timberlyn Wendt, Lat, 1:03.64; 8. Jordan Gagner, Sit, 1:03.68.

100 breaststroke — 1. Lydia Jacoby, Sew, 1:00.61; 2. Madison Story, Hom, 1:03.57; 3. Patty Eppingher, WV, 1:06.62; 4. Jasmine Biederman, Col, 1:07.08; 5. Jean Cook, Mon, 1:07.72; 6. Juliette Benson, WV, 1:08.00; 7. Leslie Spear, Kod, 1:10.06; 8. Billi Lovell, Val, 1:10.55.

400 free relay — 1. Dimond (Willis, Terry, Boyce, Kowatch), 3:37.40; 2. Sitka, 3:41.07; 3. West Valley, 3:42.55; 4. Thunder Mountain, 3:43.85; 5. Kodiak, 3:44.74; 6. South, 3:45.93; 7. Lathrop, 3:49.64; 8. Soldotna, 3:55.32.

BOYS

Team scores — 1. Service, 102; 2. Dimond, 99; 3. West Valley, 49; 4. Eagle River, 40; 5. Juneau, 36; 6. Colony, 34; 7. Kodiak, 32; 8. Chugiak, 28; 9. Kenai, 24; 10. Seward, 18; 11. Wasilla, 16; 12. Soldotna, 13; 12. West, 13; 14. Sitka, 11; 15. South, 10; 16. Petersburg, 8; 16. Thunder Mountain, 8; 18. Cordova, 4; 18. Ketchikan, 4; 18. North Pole, 4; 21. Valdez, 2.

Individual results

200 medley relay — 1. Dimond (Mitchell, Billings, Hoefer, Kass), 1:37.64; 2. Eagle River, 1:40.82; 3. Kodiak, 1:41.18; 4. Kenai, 1:41.78; 5. Juneau, 1:43.60; 6. Chugiak, 1:45.43; 7. Thunder Mountain, 1:45.73; 8. North Pole, 1:47.14.

200 freestyle — 1. Tavner Wisdom, Ser, 1:44.65; 2. Jesse Tatakis, Dim, 1:44.76; 3. Kenneth Octuk, Dim, 1:45.22; 4. Caleb Peimann, Jun, 1:45.25; 5. Tytan Frawley, Sit, 1:46.25; 6. Peter Kowalski, Pet, 1:47.71; 7. Jackson Krug, Kod, 1:48.32; 8. Ethan Bartz, Ser, 1:51.78.

200 IM — 1. Nicholas Price, Ser, 1:55.93; 2. Ian Rocheleau, Kod, 1:57.73; 3. Matthew Heaphy, ER, 1:59.45; 4. Julien Wiese, Wes, 2:00.35; 5. Konnor Kolberg, Col, 2:00.64; 6. Logan Fox, WV, 2:01.23; 7. Chaz VanSlyke, Jun, 2:01.44; 8. Ethan Kwon, Ser, 2:02.77.

50 freestyle — 1. Brian Jarupakorn, Ser, 20.53; 2. Ezra Billings, WV, 21.03; 3. Ethan Evans, Sol, 21.26; 4. Connor Spanos, Sew, 21.89; 5. Scott Babbitt, Dim, 21.90; 6. Fischer Kass, Dim, 22.17; 7. Travon Rodgers, NP, 22.45; 8. Owen Rolph, Ken, 22.91.

Diving — 1. Andrew Layman, Was, 464.65; 2. Eli Krozel, Col, 461.45; 3. Gabe Dobson, Chu, 440.65; 4. Kade Reynolds, Was, 439.50; 5. Marty Rygh, Dim, 409.90; 6. Daniel Cabrera, Wes, 363.60; 7. Deshawn Campbell, Was, 359.30; 8. Xander Backus, Col, 333.15.

100 butterfly — 1. Brian Jarupakorn, Ser, 49.90; 2. Jimmy Blackstone, Chu, 53.00; 3. Connor Spanos, Sew, 53.15; 4. Jacob Mitchell, Dim, 53.22; 5. Chaz VanSlyke, Jun, 54.14; 6. Owen Rolph, Ken, 54.55; 7. Mikel Carhart, 55.22; 8. Chase Randall, Val, 55.89.

100 freestyle — 1. Ezra Billings, WV, 47.84; 2. Jesse Tatakis, Dim, 47.91; 3. Scott Babbitt, Dim, 48.16; 4. Konnor Kolberg, Col, 48.79; 5. David Bascom, Sou, 48.96; 6. Fischer Kass, Dim, 49.42; 7. Ethan Bartz, Ser, 50.15; 8. Hunter Hollingsworth, Sew, 50.88.

500 freestyle — 1. Caleb Peimann, Jun, 4:46.88; 2. Tytan Frawley, Sit, 4:48.06; 3. Logan Fox, WV, 4:48.25; 4. Peter Kowalski, Pet, 4:51.59; 5. Trent Fritsch, Cor, 4:51.75; 6. Ian Rocheleau, Kod, 4:53.04; 7. Kenneth Octuk, Dim, 4:55.82; 8. Koda Poulin, Ken, 5:05.53.

200 free relay — 1. Service (Jarupakorn, Price, Kwon, Wisdom), 1:25.99; 2. Dimond, 1:27.64; 3. West Valley, 1:29.73; 4. Eagle River, 1:29.96; 5. Kenai, 1:32.73; 6. Seward, 1:32.85; 7. South, 1:33.47; 8. Thunder Mountain, 1:35.05.

100 backstroke — 1. Nicholas Price, Ser, 52.29; 2. Jonathan Cowin, Col, 52.42; 3. Jacob Mitchell, Dim, 53.74; 4. Jimmy Blackstone, Chu, 55.64; 5. Bryce Mattson, Ket, 57.08; 6. William Kitchen, Ser, 57.66; 7. Noah Loseby, TM, 58.05; 8. Isaiah Silveira, Val, 59.84.

100 breaststroke — 1. Tavner Wisdom, Ser, 57.14; 2. Ethan Evans, Sol, 58.06; 3. Matthew Heaphy, ER, 58.96; 4. Ethan Kwon, Ser, 1:00.34; 5. Josiah Keen, ER, 1:00.52; 6. Julien Wiese, Wes, 1:00.79; 7. Nicholas Carver, Kod, 1:01.39; 8. Trevor Bagley, Ken, 1:02.30.

400 free relay — 1. Service (Jarupakorn, Price, Kwon, Wisdom), 3:11.15; 2. Dimond, 3:13.89; 3. West Valley, 3:17.87; 4. Colony, 3:21.16; 5. Juneau, 3:22.07; 6. Kodiak, 3:24.18; 7. Chugiak, 3:27.60; 8. South, 3:28.61.

Seward’s Lydia Jacoby races to the win in the girls 100-yard breaststroke final Saturday at the ASAA state swimming and diving championship at the Bartlett pool in Anchorage. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward’s Lydia Jacoby races to the win in the girls 100-yard breaststroke final Saturday at the ASAA state swimming and diving championship at the Bartlett pool in Anchorage. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Alex Juliussen races her leg in the girls 200-yard freestyle relay final Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, at the ASAA state swimming and diving championship at the Bartlett pool in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Alex Juliussen races her leg in the girls 200-yard freestyle relay final Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, at the ASAA state swimming and diving championship at the Bartlett pool in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward’s Connor Spanos races to a podium finish in the boys 100-yard butterfly final Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, at the ASAA state swimming and diving championship at the Bartlett pool in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward’s Connor Spanos races to a podium finish in the boys 100-yard butterfly final Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, at the ASAA state swimming and diving championship at the Bartlett pool in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Owen Rolph races in the boys 100-yard butterfly final Saturday at the ASAA state swimming and diving championship at the Bartlett pool in Anchorage. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Owen Rolph races in the boys 100-yard butterfly final Saturday at the ASAA state swimming and diving championship at the Bartlett pool in Anchorage. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Madison Story leads Dimond’s Dreamer Kowatch midway through the girls 200-yard IM final Saturday at the ASAA state swimming and diving championship at the Bartlett pool in Anchorage. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Madison Story leads Dimond’s Dreamer Kowatch midway through the girls 200-yard IM final Saturday at the ASAA state swimming and diving championship at the Bartlett pool in Anchorage. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

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