High School Sports

South girls repeat and Dimond boys edge past Service at Region IV swim championship

The 2023 postseason for high school swimming got underway this past week with regional tournaments taking place around the state. In Anchorage on Saturday, the Region IV championship at Bartlett High saw South successfully defend its title by edging past reigning state champion Dimond on the girls side. The defending state champion Service boys came up just short to Dimond but still had a strong overall showing.

South leaned on the same strength that has carried the Wolverines all season to propel them to a second-straight title — their impressive depth.

“That’s been our strength all along and I’m super proud of all of the girls,” South coach Kenny Fox said. “Every one of them stepped up in their own way, and I couldn’t be more proud of them. It wasn’t just one swimmer, it was all of them together.”

South’s 429 points was good enough to best runner-up Dimond (378) and third-place Eagle River (351).

One of the four Wolverines to win an individual title was senior Megan McLaughlin, who captured the first region title of her career by finishing first in the girls 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1 minute, 7.64 seconds.

“It was super surreal and I didn’t expect that,” she said. “I’ve always been a backstroker, so this year has been different for me to try to breaststroke and I love it. Winning my first (individual) regional title was my goal and I got it.”

South defeated the defending state champion 200-yard medley relay team of Dimond in their first race of Saturday’s finals. Other individual winners included Charlotte Griffith, who won the girls 50-yard freestyle, and Kaia Reeg, the winner of the girls 500-yard freestyle.


“Our relays did amazing,” McLaughlin said. “All three of those definitely contributed to our overall title. ... We are super pumped, we have a big team going to state, so the energy is really great and especially going to Juneau because we have never traveled for state before.”

On the boys side, Service had a strong showing with a deep team as well, but it wasn’t enough to successfully defend its regional title as they were narrowly edged out by Dimond, 423-420. The Lynx were able to capture the team title despite not having a single first-place individual swimmer or relay team in the A-Finals while the Cougars had five, including two individuals twice.

“It was a tough meet for us in the sense that we were trying to get all three of our relays in, so it ended up probably costing us the meet overall, but a lot of this weekend is about (setting up for) next weekend and how we qualify for it,” Service head coach Ben Kitchen said. “We did a great job of that and the kids swam really, really well.”

One of his swimmers who performed exceptionally well was senior Preston Kwon, who set a new meet record and swam the fastest time in state history finals of the boys 100-yard breaststroke with a mark of 55:11 seconds.

“Coming into this season, I had a low of 56 (seconds) so it just took putting in a little bit more work and I’m really happy with the swims,” he said. “Once I saw 55:11, it was like a dream come true. The goal was to go under 55 (seconds).”

Not only did that blazing finish qualify him for next week’s state tournament, he’s qualified for nationals as well, according to Kitchen.

“Preston had an absolutely dynamic swim,” he said. “That was one of his best swims, and he qualified for nationals with that so it was awesome. I wasn’t ready for that. I knew he was going to be fast but not that fast.”

Kwon also finished first in the boys 100-yard butterfly. The Cougars’ other two-time first-place finisher was Ben Price, who won the boys 200-yard IM and the 100-yard freestyle. Their fifth individual title came from Conrad Fawcett, who came first in the 500-yard freestyle, which is the event he won at state last year and will be looking to defend next weekend down in Juneau.

“I believe our overall team spirit was great,” Kwon said. “We were helping put teammates out. We were a bit gassed and weren’t fully tapered, but hopefully at state, we’ll have a much stronger performance and hopefully bring back another state title.”

While neither their boys or girls teams won the overall regional title, Eagle River had strong showings in both divisions on Saturday. The Wolves accounted for nine individual and relay team titles, including upsets over top-qualifying seeds and reigning state champions.

“I think they did really well,” Eagle River coach Bryce Carpenter said. “It’s kind of what they’ve been expecting to do the whole season. They came in and established their mission from the get-go. They came together with one goal and understood that if they came in to grind and do the work, they can come out on top.”

On the girls side, the Woodward and Trembath sisters played a part in capturing five titles between the four of them.

Lola Woodward won the girls 100-yard freestyle and backstroke and was on the 200-yard freestyle relay team that took first. Her younger sister Reese was on that title-winning relay team and won the girls 100-yard butterfly as well. Sophia Trembath won the girls 200-yard freestyle and swam the third leg our the freestyle relay race. Lelaina Trembath finished second in the 500 relay.

“They’re some of the hardest workers we have on the team and they’re silent leaders, but they keep it fun and energized,” Carpenter said. “They understand work works and I couldn’t be more proud to be their coach.”

On the boys side, Wes Mank helped win all four of the team’s titles. He was part of the relay team for the Wolves that upset the defending state champion Cougars in the 200-yard medley relay in his first race of the day. He finished just ahead of Fawcett in the boys 200-yard freestyle, swam the first leg of the winning boys 200-yard freestyle relay, and won the boys 100-yard breaststroke too.

“He had some pretty good swims,” Carpenter said. “He looked pretty good, but we’re eyeing state to get even better swims out of him.”

What made Mank’s performance even more impressive was the fact that he was competing at such a high level despite having battled illness leading up to the meet.


“I was sick all week so I just tried to go out there, go out fast and then just hold on,” he said.

Region IV Swim Meet

Team totals


1. South High 429; 2. Dimond Swim 378; 3. Eagle River 351; 4. Service 288; 5. West High 205; 6. Chugiak 198; 7. Bettye Davis East 66; 8. Bartlett 46.


1. Dimond 423; 2. Service 420; 3. Eagle River 373; 4. Chugiak 276; 5. West High 214; 6. South High 164.


1. Dimond 801; 2. Eagle River 724; 3. Service 708; 4. South, 593; 5. Chugiak 474; 6. West 419; 7. East 144; 8. Bartlett 92.


Individual results

Girls 200 Yard Medley Relay

1. South (Zoe Fencil, Stella Baldessari, Megan McLaughlin, Charlotte Griffith), 1:50.26. 2. Eagle River (Lola Woodward, Maya Solomonson, Reese Woodward, Lelaina Trembath), 1:50.29. 3. Dimond (Leena Edais, Maizy Kass, Caroline Waters, Zaylee Mullinax), 1:52.44. 4. Service (Natalie Hostetter, Anna Brooks, Hannah Katchen, Casey Struna-Meyer), 1:56.53. 5. Chugiak (Abigail Doepken, Jaelin Burrell, Kalea Davis, Jane Merizon), 1:58.55. 6. West (Payton Curtis, Drew Congdon, Ellie Cutting, Brooke Wagner), 2:04.61. 7. East (Phoebe Toscano, Caitlin Ramos, Molly Wirschem, Arista Toolie), 2:16.73. 8. Bartlett (Aura Perkins, Ella Dunlap, Siera Chadwick, Tessa Buzzell), 2:34.38.

Boys 200 Yard Medley Relay

1. Eagle River (Wes Mank, Eli Rumph, Dean Toole, Owen Hasenstab), 1:35.55. 2. Service (Ben Price, Jan Beck, Preston Kwon, Tomasz Balaban), 1:35.64. 3. Dimond (Will McKinley, Roman Fosberg, Samuel Randall, Jonathan Szymanski), 1:41.32. 4. South (Max Yagodin, Aiden Simmons, Christopher Cooke, Liam Carr), 1:55.19. 5. East (Everett French, Jamey Algiene, Mark Hermano, Gabriel Novero), 2:02.27. 6. West (Benjamin Strauss, London Begich-Bal, Kevin Zhang, Colin Korver), 2:07.53. 7. Chugiak (Corbin Wolz, Nathan Bloom, Kael Bradley, Jeremiah Haas), 2:08.37. 8. Bartlett (Vincent Stratchan, Albert Perkins, Malik Burns, Kenneth Young), 2:32.56.

Girls 200 Yard Freestyle

1. Sophia Trembath, Eagle River, 2:00.11. 2. Paige Antrobus, Dimond, 2:03.72. 3. Kaia Reeg, South, 2:03.96. 4. Lelaina Trembath, Eagle River, 2:04.55. 5. Casey Struna-Meyer, Service, 2:05.07. 6. Molly Wirschem, East, 2:05.74. 7. Holly Dittman, Dimond, 2:07.04. 8. Caitlyn Rumph, Eagle River, 2:07.13.

Boys 200 Yard Freestyle

1. Wes Mank, Eagle River, 1:43.66. 2. Conrad Fawcett, Service, 1:43.97. 3. Will McKinley, Dimond, 1:47.37. 4. Owen Hasenstab, Eagle River, 1:49.33. 5. Blake Fazio, Chugiak, 1:49.88. 6. Chris Michael, Chugiak, 1:51.72. 7. Dean Toole, Eagle River, 1:52.33. 8. Dax O’Brien, Dimond, 1:53.83.

Girls 200 Yard IM

1. Caroline Waters, Dimond, 2:09.67. 2. Reese Woodward, Eagle River, 2:10.41. 3. Zoe Fencil, South, 2:14.65. 4. Megan McLaughlin, South, D 2:16.73. 5. Anna Brooks, Service, 2:21.27. 6. Zaylee Mullinax, Dimond, 2:21.69. 7. Zoe Zipsir, South, 2:24.14. 8. Kalea Davis, Chugiak, 2:25.33.

Boys 200 Yard IM


1. Ben Price, Service, 1:58.56. 2. Eli Rumph, Eagle River, 2:04.92. 3. Roman Fosberg, Dimond, 2:08.06. 4. Nate Shockley, Eagle River, 2:09.52. 5. Samuel Randall, Dimond, 2:10.62. 6. Max Yagodin, South, 2:11.21. 7. Andy Zhang, Dimond, 2:11.35. 8. Sigge Mellerstig, West, 2:13.92.

Girls 50 Yard Freestyle

1. Charlotte Griffith, South, 24.91. 2. Mia Sperbeck, Dimond, 25.32. 3. Elizabeth Bingham, South, 25.44. 4. Maizy Kass, Dimond, 25.47. 5. Natalie Hostetter, Service, 26.08. 6. Leena Edais, Dimond, 26.26. 7. Nora McBride, Dimond, 26.56. 8. Audrey Simmons, South, 27.08.

Boys 50 Yard Freestyle

1. Tyson Morgan, Chugiak, 22.00. 2. Tomasz Balaban, Service, 22.30. 3. Jack Beltzer, West, 22.48. 4. Matthew Baker, Eagle River, 22.76. 5. Caeden Kullander, Dimond, 23.00. 6. Jonathan Szymanski, Dimond, 23.41. 7. Dominic Brunelle, Dimond, 24.52. 8. Creed Cvancara, Dimond, 24.74. (B - Final) 9. Jake Altman, Service, 23.96. 10, Jackson Rasmussen, Eagle River, 24.64. 11. Benjamin Hancock, Eagle River, 25.14. 12. Jackson Delacruz, Eagle River, 25.49. 13. Aiden Simmons, South, 25.56. 14. Yohan Wang, Service, 26.83. 15. Alexander Donner, Service, 27.51.

Girls 1 mtr Diving


1. Faith Colman, Service, 393.40. 2. Grace Lang, Chugiak, 350.05. 3. Sophia Sidgman, Eagle River, 325.15. 4. Julia Montero, Eagle River, 318.30. 5. Kensley Denmon, Service, 305.95. 6. Genevieve Sperbeck, Dimond, 274.15. 7. Lexi Bond, Service, 266.95. 8. Iona Snyder, West, 264.05.

Boys 1 mtr Diving

1. Jake Light, Chugiak, 431.55. 2. Reubin Williams, Service, 416.65. 3. Bentley Altman, Service, 386.55. 4. Roman Billings, Dimond, 371.95. 5. Joshua Christian, South, 365.65. 6. Caleb Dobson, Chugiak, 337.45. 7. Ammon Marvin, Dimond, 273.35. 8. Korovin Allen, Dimond, 248.65.

Girls 100 Yard Butterfly

1. Reese Woodward, Eagle River, 57.21. 2. Caroline Waters, Dimond, 57.29. 3. Kalima Glascott, West, 1:03.17. 4. Zaylee Mullinax, Dimond, 1:03.28. 5. Kalea Davis, Chugiak, 1:04.77. 6. Lindsey Tatakis, South, 1:05.21. 7. Jaelin Burrell, Chugiak, 1:06.08. 8. Audrey Simmons, South, 1:06.24. (B -Final) 9. Ireland Kass, Dimond, 1:05.34. 10, Hannah Katchen, Service, 1:06.02. 11. Kaelyn Szefler, Dimond, 1:11.21. 12. Iris Rothbarth, South, 1:12.99. 13. Lizy Reinders, South, 1:16.96. 14. Noelle Oakley, Service, 1:18.63. 15. Pia McCarthy, West, 1:22.01. 16. Marysia Balaban, Service, 1:26.86.

Boys 100 Yard Butterfly

1. Preston Kwon, Service, 51.95. 2. Tomasz Balaban, Service, 52.28. 3. Samuel Randall, Dimond, 54.74. 4. Jack Beltzer, West, 55.78. 5. Packer Lowell, Chugiak, 57.29. 6. Andy Zhang, Dimond, 57.48. 7. Paradorn Connolly, Service, 59.22. 8. Bentley Altman, Service, 59.75.

Girls 100 Yard Freestyle

1. Lola Woodward, Eagle River, 52.85. 2. Charlotte Griffith, South, 54.38. 3. Sophia Trembath, Eagle River, 55.12. 4. Mia Sperbeck, Dimond, 56.02. 5. Molly Wirschem, East, 56.56. 6. Stella Baldessari, South, 57.01. 7. Olivia Croy, West, 57.34. 8. Natalie Hostetter, Service, 58.57.

Boys 100 Yard Freestyle

1. Ben Price, Service, 47.68. 2. Caeden Kullander, Dimond, 49.45. 3. Owen Hasenstab, Eagle River, 50.11. 4. Sayeed Mahmood, West, 50.73. 5. Jonathan Szymanski, Dimond, 51.04. 6. Matthew Baker, Eagle River, 51.10. 7. Kieran Erwin, Dimond, 52.10. 8. Bryce Herda, East, 53.82. 9. Jackson Rasmussen, Eagle River, 54.50. 10, Liam Carr, South, 55.32. 11. Gabriel Simmons, South, 56.54. 12. Kael Bradley, Chugiak, 57.36. 13. Reubin Williams, Service, 57.48. 14. Cade Phillips, Service, 58.39. 15. Everett French, East, 1:01.05. 16. Shamus Kelly, Dimond, 1:01.09.

Girls 500 Yard Freestyle

1. Kaia Reeg, South, 5:27.91. 2. Lelaina Trembath, Eagle River, 5:28.10. 3. Paige Antrobus, Dimond, 5:35.02. 4. Casey Struna-Meyer, Service, 5:38.27. 5. Holly Dittman, Dimond, 5:41.55. 6. Alexa Kotter, South, 5:41.63. 7. Ellie Cutting, West, 5:44.37.

Boys 500 Yard Freestyle

1. Conrad Fawcett, Service, 4:44.23. 2. Jan Beck, Service, 4:49.40. 3. Blake Fazio, Chugiak, 5:04.33. 4. Chris Michael, Chugiak, 5:07.18. 5. Dax O’Brien, Dimond, 5:08.40. 6. Dean Toole, Eagle River, 5:09.98. 7. Nate Shockley, Eagle River, 5:20.81. 8. London Begich-Bal, West, 5:21.64.

Girls 200 Yard Freestyle Relay

1. Eagle River (Reese Woodward, Bryn Baldwin, Sophia Trembath, Lola Woodward), 1:39.26. 2. Dimond (Mia Sperbeck, Maizy Kass, Leena Edais, Nora McBride), 1:42.33. 3. South (Elizabeth Bingham, Megan McLaughlin, Zoe Zipsir, Charlotte Griffith), 1:42.52. 4. Service (Natalie Hostetter, Destiny Delara, Anna Brooks, Casey Struna-Meyer), 1:44.14. 5. West (Olivia Croy, Drew Congdon, Brooke Wagner, Kalima Glascott), 1:49.31. 6. Chugiak (Kalea Davis, Moriah Anderson, Jane Merizon, Jaelin Burrell), 1:49.99. 7. Bartlett (Eiley Reid, Aura Perkins, Ella Dunlap, Tessa Buzzell), 2:11.32.

Boys 200 Yard Freestyle Relay

1. Eagle River (Wes Mank, Dean Toole, Matthew Baker, Owen Hasenstab), 1:28.48. 2. Chugiak (Tyson Morgan, Packer Lowell, Blake Fazio, Chris Michael), 1:30.11. 3. Service (Preston Kwon, Conrad Fawcett, Bentley Altman, Tomasz Balaban), 1:30.13. 4. Dimond (Caeden Kullander, Roman Fosberg, Samuel Randall, Jonathan Szymanski), 1:33.12. 5. West (Sayeed Mahmood, Sigge Mellerstig, Hussain Elerian, Jack Beltzer), 1:35.23. 6. South (Max Yagodin, Gabriel Simmons, Liam Carr, Christopher Cooke), 1:39.90. 7. Bartlett (Vincent Stratchan, Nicholas Brandal, Malik Burns, Albert Perkins), 2:02.58.

Girls 100 Yard Backstroke

1. Lola Woodward, Eagle River, 57.90. 2. Zoe Fencil, South, 58.20. 3. Hannah Katchen, Service, 1:03.13. 4. Payton Curtis, West, 1:05.13. 5. Caitlin Ramos, East, 1:05.31. 6. Leena Edais, Dimond, 1:05.56. 7. Abigail Doepken, Chugiak, 1:05.78. 8. Molly McBride, Dimond, 1:07.11.

Boys 100 Yard Backstroke

1. Wes Mank, Eagle River, 50.95. 2. Will McKinley, Dimond, 53.63. 3. Tyson Morgan, Chugiak, 53.96. 4. Packer Lowell, Chugiak, 57.74. 5. Sayeed Mahmood, West, 58.38. 6. Keegan Zawko, Service, 1:01.10. 7. Max Yagodin, South, 1:01.21. 8. Dominic Brunelle, Dimond, 1:03.64.

Girls 100 Yard Breaststroke

1. Megan McLaughlin, South, 1:07.64. 2. Jaelin Burrell, Chugiak, 1:09.43. 3. Stella Baldessari, South, 1:09.46. 4. Maizy Kass, Dimond, 1:09.84. 5. Anna Brooks, Service, 1:10.11. 6. Maya Solomonson, Eagle River, 1:12.76. 7. Bryn Baldwin, Eagle River, 1:14.24. 8. Elizabeth Bingham, South, 1:15.90.

Boys 100 Yard Breaststroke

1. Preston Kwon, Service, 55.11. 2. Eli Rumph, Eagle River, 59.03. 3. Jan Beck, Service, 1:00.55. 4. Roman Fosberg, Dimond, 1:01.89. 5. Sigge Mellerstig, West, 1:04.17. 6. Bryce Herda, East, 1:05.17. 7. Jake Altman, Service, 1:05.63. 8. Creed Cvancara, Dimond, 1:08.67.

Girls 400 Yard Freestyle Relay

1. South (Kaia Reeg, Zoe Fencil, Zoe Zipsir, Stella Baldessari), 3:48.53. 2. Eagle River (Sophia Trembath, Lelaina Trembath, Caitlyn Rumph, Bryn Baldwin), 3:49.44. 3. West (Ellie Cutting, Payton Curtis, Kalima Glascott, Olivia Croy), 3:58.64. 4. Service (Destiny Delara, Noelle Oakley, Linai Tuers, Hannah Katchen), 3:59.32. 5. Chugiak (Moriah Anderson, Lacey Westerlin, Abigail Doepken, Sami Klayum), 4:22.00.

Boys 400 Yard Freestyle Relay

1. Chugiak (Chris Michael, Packer Lowell, Blake Fazio, Tyson Morgan), 3:17.35. 2. Service (Conrad Fawcett, Jan Beck, Bentley Altman, Ben Price), 3:19.02. 3. Dimond (Caeden Kullander, Kieran Erwin, Dax O’Brien, Will McKinley), 3:21.48. 4. West (Jack Beltzer, Sigge Mellerstig, Hussain Elerian, Sayeed Mahmood), 3:30.17. 5. Eagle River (Matthew Baker, Nate Shockley, Tristan Popa, Eli Rumph), 3:32.68. 6. South (Danny Schulze, Aiden Simmons, Gabriel Simmons, Leutian Mcdonald), 4:01.00.

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.