After claiming Alaska state swimming titles in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke in 2021 as a sophomore, Thunder Mountain’s P.J. Foy wanted a new challenge.
Foy decided to participate in two different events, attempting to break the state records for both as well.
However, he said it’s continuing to improve that was his focus, not so much the record or even the state title.
“I don’t really care about the title, I just want to do my best,” Foy said.
Nonetheless, he finished first in both the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly Saturday and nearly made history in both as well.
His mark of 48.46 seconds on the butterfly broke a state record that has stood since 2008 and according to his head coach, Josiah Loseby, he finished just shy of the state record for the 200 freestyle by less than a second.
“That’s what I was going for,” Foy said.
What makes Foy’s record-breaking finish and strong performance overall all the more impressive is that he did it coming off of an illness that prevented him from participating in practice the week leading up to the state finals.
While he admitted that the hungry competitor in him selfishly wanted to come to practice despite being sick, the unselfish teammate within him overruled and derailed that train of thought.
“I had a fever and wanted to stay away from my team so that they wouldn’t get infected,” Foy said. “I didn’t want to compromise my team.”
He stayed at home and did his best to recover before resuming swimming by himself in his own lane and slowly worked his way back to health so that he could be as ready as possible for state.
“He was super amped and super jazzed for this weekend and really excited going into both of his races,” Loseby said.
He finished first in the 200 freestyle comfortably but had West Anchorage standout Ari Kaufman right on his tailfin in the 100 butterfly. Foy said he loves swimming against the best competition in tighter races because it makes him further test his limits.
“If they’re right next to me, it pushes me to go faster and I love that energy drive that I get,” Foy said.
As motivated as he was to perform his best individually on Saturday, Foy expressed that he was more motivated to help his team in the 200 freestyle relay.
“The only reason I actually came here was because of my teammates,” Foy said. “We have one freshman and one sophomore that wouldn’t have gone to state if it wasn’t for that relay. I don’t think I would’ve tried so hard to recover if it weren’t for them.”
West Valley senior swimmer goes out ‘with a bang’
Another upperclassman who is headed home with a pair of gold medals after recording a couple of first-place finishes is Samantha Bristor of the West Valley Wolfpack.
As a junior in 2021, she won state in the girls 500 freestyle but this year she was able edge out a longtime rival in one of the biggest upsets of the finals.
While she was the top-ranked swimmer for the girls 200 yard freestyle and proved she deserved the top spot with a mark of 1:54.34, Dimond’s Isabelle Borke held that distinction for girls 100 yard freestyle.
“She is always what keeps me motivated and swimming faster and I always look forward to racing against her,” Bristor said.
Both of them had already won an individual state title by the time they faced off for the chance to compete for a second and were neck-and-neck during the race.
“The first half I was focusing more on myself because that’s what I do but in the second half, I saw her getting in front of me and I was like ‘that’s not going to happen,’ ” Bristor said.
She kicked her feet into high gear and managed to finish just ahead of Borke for the narrow late lead. Bristor’s mark of 51.93 just edged the Lynx star, who came in at 52.07.
The two seniors competed in different events as freshmen but have been competing against each other since they were sophomores.
“Ever since then, me and her have been always racing each other and always neck and neck with each other,” Bristor said
To finish her high school swimming career as the two-time state champion and three-time individual title winner overall is a dream come true for the class of 2023 soon-to-be graduate.
“It feels really good, especially to go out in my senior year with a bang,” Bristor said.
Homer’s Nelson, Dimond’s Billings claim a pair of titles
Homer’s Cary Nelson not only won a pair of titles, but was also named the Most Outstanding Girls Swimmer of the meet. She won the girls 100 butterfly in 57.18 and also took the 500 freestyle in a time of 5:11.47.
Dimond’s Andrew Billings was also a double individual winner. He won both the 50 free (21.14) and the 100 free (46.69) to establish himself as the top sprinter in the state.
State Swimming and Diving Meet
Girls 200 Yard Medley Relay
1. Dimond (Hannah Boyce, Isabelle Borke, Caroline Waters, Leena Edais) 1:49.57; 2. Colony 1:51.31; 3. Eagle River 151.80
Boys 200 Yard Medley Relay
1. Service (William Kitchen, Preston Kwon, Lucas Wisdom, Conrad Fawcett), 1:37.46; 2. Eagle River 1:37.99; 3. Juneau Douglas 1:38.92.
Girls 200 Yard Freestyle
1. Samantha Bristor, West Valley, 1:54.34; 2. Samantha Schwarting, Juneau-Douglas, 1:55.79; 3. Lola Woodward, Eagle River, 1:56.37.
Boys 200 Yard Freestyle
1. Patrick Foy, Thunder Mountain, 1:40.16; 2. Reuben Dobson, Chugiak, 1:43.42; 3. Conrad Fawcett, Service 1:44.36.
Girls 200 Yard IM
1. Emma Fellman, Juneau Douglas, 2:07.78; 2. Alexandria Anderson, Colony, 2:08.44; 3. Zoe Pencil, South, 2:18.06.
Boys 200 Yard IM
1. Benjamin Price, Service, 1:55.32; 2. Chaz Vanslyke, Juneau Douglas, 1:57.23; 3. Karson Kolberg, Eagle River, 1:58.36.
Girls 50 Yard Freestyle
1. Isabelle Borke, Dimond, 23.99; 2. Charlotte Griffith, South, 24.81; 3. Amaya Rocheleau, Kodiak, 25.31
Boys 50 Yard Freestyle
1. Andrew Billings, Dimond, 21.14; 2. Ari Kaufman, West, 21.38; 3. Wesley Mank, Eagle River, 21.59.
Girls 1 meter Diving
1. Ally Hrncir, Palmer, 425.55; 2. Audrey Dietz, Wasilla, 400.20; 3. Grace Greene, Hutchinson, 369.10.
Boys 1 meter Diving
1. Deshawn Campbell, Wasilla, 413.00; 2. Travis Thorton, Wasilla, 368.85; 3. Jacob Light, Chugiak, 350.10.
Girls 100 Yard Butterfly
1. Carly Nelson, Homer, 57.18; 2. Caroline Waters, Dimond, 58.53; 3. Emma Gassman, Sitka, 59.18.
Boys 100 Yard Butterfly
1. Patrick Foy, Thunder Mountain, 48.46; 2. Ari Kaufman, West, 50.81; 3. Reuben Dobson, Chugiak, 51.11
Girls 100 Yard Freestyle
1. Samantha Bristor, West Valley, 51.93; 2. Isabelle Borke, Dimond, 52.07; 3. Charlotte Griffith, South, 53.60.
Boys 100 Yard Freestyle
1. Andrew Billings, Dimond, 46.69; 2. Benjamin Price, Service, 47.03; 3. Kyan Harnum, West Valley, 47.28.
Girls 500 Yard Freestyle
1. Carly Nelson, Homer, 5:11.47; 2. Samantha Schwarting, Juneau Douglas, 5:13.40; 3. Hannah Cooper, Colony, 5:27. 71.
Boys 500 Yard Freestyle
1. Conrad Fawcett, Service, 4:42.93; 2. Jan Beck, Service, 4:47.38; 3. Hunter Fry, Homer, 4:56.60.
Girls 200 Yard Freestyle Relay
1. Thunder Mountain (Alex Jenkins, Sadie Jenkins, Olivia Mills, Caitlin Sanders) 1:40.88; 2. Dimond 1:41.28; 3. Eagle River 1:41.76.
Boys 200 Yard Freestyle Relay
1. Seward (Bengimin Ambrosiani, Nickolas Ambrosiani, Jackson Bird, Paxton Hill), 1:28.64; 2. Service, 1:29.42; 3. Dimond, 1:29.50.
Girls 100 Yard Backstroke
1. Lola Woodward, Eagle River, 57.99; 2. Zoe Pencil, South, 59.40; 3. Hannah Boyce, Dimond, 59.42.
Boys 100 Yard Backstroke
1. William Kitchen, Service, 52.65; 2. Wesley Mank, Eagle River, 52.93; 3. Trent Fritsch, Cordova, 53.84.
Girls 100 Yard Breaststroke
1. Alexandria Anderson, Colony, 1:03.41; 2. Emma Fellman, Juneau Douglas, 1:05.76; 3. Jaelin Burrell, Chugiak, 1:08.48
Boys 100 Yard Breaststroke
1. Trevor Dash, Ketchikan, 58.66; 2. Ashton Banks, West Valley, 58.83; 3. Person Kwon, Service, 59.04.
Girls 400 Yard Freestyle Relay
1. Dimond (Caroline Waters, Maizy Kass, Paige Antrobus, Hannah Boyce) 3:41.69; 2. Colony 3:41.87; 3. Juneau Douglas 3:42.41.
Boys 400 Yard Freestyle Relay
1. Service (Benjamin Price, William Kitchen, Jan Beck, Conrad Fawcett) 3:15.30; 2. Seward 3:15.37; 3. Juneau Douglas 3:17.51.