High School Sports

Motivated and with a deep roster, South girls swimming looks to take the final step

There was a telling result in the South High girls swim team’s recent meet with West.

A South team won the 400-meter freestyle relay — not much of a surprise in a dual with just two varsity teams.

But the victorious team was listed as South’s B Team, outpacing the South A Team by more than five seconds to take the win.

Although the winning team had plenty of South’s top swimmers, the race was an indicator of not only the talent among the Wolverines, but the depth. That deep roster has meant South swimmers are always competing, whether it’s in meets or practice.

“I’m a big proponent (of the idea) that getting faster is about competing,” South coach Kenny Fox said. “We have a great opportunity with so many fast kids on our team, we’re able to compete in practice every day and we’re able to compete in meets (regardless of the opponent).”

South takes on Eagle River in a dual meet at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Service High in a battle between a pair of upstart teams early this season. Eagle River had a strong performance earlier this season at the Big 8 Invite.

South nearly launched itself from upstart to kingpin last season after winning the Region IV title, unseating longtime champ Dimond. But the Lynx bounced back at state to win for a seventh straight time.


Key returners from last year’s team include Charlotte Griffith and Zoe Fencil. Griffith finished second in the 50 freestyle and third in the 100 freestyle at state. Fencil finished second in the 100 backstroke and third in the 200 IM.

“Our team is strong,” Fox said. “We’ve really tried to focus on what we can control and what we can do better as a team. We are definitely strong as a group and we want to get stronger together.”

With all the depth, Fox is able to work as a bit of a mad scientist, putting together different combinations in relays and swimmers in a variety of events.

“There’s a lot of tinkering,” he said. “When I head home, there’s a lot of thought. I should probably get some sleep but I’m thinking about swimming. I want to put the kids in the best position possible, girls and boys.”

After getting close last year with the regional win, the Wolverines are highly motivated to continue to make strides.

“They are definitely motivated,” Fox said. “We have to learn what we are capable of, too. We know what we are now but we need to search and find in ourselves what we want to do. It’s cool to see them grow, but I think as a team we haven’t found that peak yet.”

The high school swimming and diving season is short and is wrapped up by early November. But many of the South swimmers have been active over the entire year, giving Fox some nice surprises when practice started for the Wolverines late this summer.

“What most people don’t realize, it’s a year-around sport,” he said. “It’s important to maintain things but it’s even more important to try to improve.”

Chris Bieri

Chris Bieri is the sports and entertainment editor at the Anchorage Daily News.