SoHi's Bowen named swimmer of year: Kodiak boys, girls sweep Region III swimming

Posted: Sunday, November 01, 2009

Soldotna's Olivia Bowen set two, new Region III swimming records and earned the girls swimmer of the year award Saturday at the Region III Swimming and Diving Championships hosted by Skyview.

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Photos By M. Scott Moon
Photos By M. Scott Moon
Soldotna's Olivia Bowen wins the 200-yard individual medley Saturday at the Region III Swimming and Diving Championships at Skyview High School.

The Kodiak Bears swept the meet, recording 115 team points for the girls and 100 for the boys.

"We have an outstanding group of kids that committed to training hard," said Bears coach John Lindquist. "Most of them swim and train year-round."

"I got all (my) best times today," said Bowen, who won the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly. "I just had a really good meet."

Bowen said Kodiak's Celeste Beck-Goodell pushed her in the 200 IM, helping her set the new record with a time of 2:14.34. Beck-Goodell came in second with a time of 2:15.57.

In the 100 butterfly, Bowen jumped out to a fast lead and kept pushing. Her record-setting 59.24 was more than six seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

"Today, (Olivia) did a great job," said Sohail Marey, SoHi's coach. "She definitely deserved that award. I'm really proud of her."

The Soldotna girls took second with 57 points ahead of Homer with 36 points and Wasilla and Kenai, who tied with 30 apiece.

For the boys, Wasilla came in second place with 57 points and Soldotna in third with 54.

Wasilla's Jeff Frey set two region records in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle events. His time of 21.30 in the 50-yard event broke the previous record set in 1992.

Midway through the 100 freestyle, Frey was tied with Seward's Ryan O'Leary, who edged out Frey in the preliminary swim on Friday. During the final stretch, Frey just beat out O'Leary with a time of 47.39 to O'Leary's 47.42.

Frey broke his former record of 47.53 in the event, which he set at last year's region meet.

During the final 25 yards, Frey said he and O'Leary were breathing to opposite sides, making it impossible for either swimmer to know where the other person was.

"We were both just gritting our teeth and praying," Frey said.

Though he's happy with the win, Frey's not satisfied. "I'm hoping to do better at state," he said.

Many of Wasilla's "middle group" of swimmers stepped up at the meet, said coach Matt Hanley. "There's a lot of room for success," he said.

Hanley said on the girls side, there was a strong core group that worked hard and took charge during the meets this year.

"The girls swam with a lot of integrity," he said.

Kodiak freshman Jori Lindquist broke the region record in the 200 freestyle.

Her time of 1:58.66 edged out Kenai Central's Olivia Pfeifer's time of 2:01.04. Lindquist led at all three turns in the 200 freestyle and cruised to a victory with a time of 1:00.22.

"She had a great meet," said John Lindquist, Jori's father. "She worked for everything that she just earned. As a coach and a dad, I'm proud of her."

SoHi's Winter Heaven also set a region record in the 100-yard butterfly. Heaven easily won the event, coming in nearly five seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. He recorded a time of 51.47.

Kodiak's Beck-Goodell set a new region record in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:19.05, almost 10 seconds faster than her preliminary time the day before. The previous record was set in 1993.

Kenai's Pfeifer took second in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.

O'Leary won the 200-yard freestyle. Homer's Richard Ginter took first in the 200 individual medley.

Mike Nesper can be reached at

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