Since 1985, the only swimming and diving team from the peninsula to win a state championship was the Soldotna boys in 1993.
So SoHi coach Sohail Marey couldn't help but be a little surprised when he took the seed times for the state meet and scored them.
The results? The Soldotna girls finish just ahead of juggernaut Service for the girls crown, while the Homer boys finish just ahead of the Stars for the boys crown.
"State is usually dominated by Anchorage, Juneau-Douglas and the schools up north," Marey said. "Overall, I'm pleased that it's us and Homer with good shots at state."
Homer and Soldotna will look to bring the peninsula rare state titles Friday and Saturday at Bartlett High School.
Friday, swimming preliminaries are at 3:30 p.m. and diving preliminaries and semifinals are at 6 p.m.
Saturday, swimming and diving finals commence at 1 p.m.
On the girls side, Soldotna comes in with the top seed times in the 200-yard medley relay (Amberlee Query, Karina Petersen, Abby Kiffmeyer, Jenna Syverson) and the 200 freestyle relay (Kiffmeyer, Eve Green, Keely Chavka, Syverson).
Also for Soldotna, Syverson has the top seed time in the 50 freestyle and Kiffmeyer has the top seed times in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.
Marey said one of the keys of the meet will be winning the 200 medley relay. Service, a school of over 2,000, traditionally has used its depth to take that event and ride the momentum to a state crown.
If Soldotna can win it this year, Marey thinks it will send a different message.
"I really believe we don't have the pressure," Marey said. "We're just going to try and get our best times.
"Service has been the champ the past three years. I'm sure they tabulated the times just like I did. Hopefully, that'll put the pressure on them a little bit."
On the boys side, Bridget Kuhns said her team also is not going to worry about beating Soldotna and the rest of the field. The Mariners will merely shoot for great times and let the chips fall where they may.
Homer's depth carried it to a win over Soldotna at regions last week, and the Mariners have seven swimmers ready to go in individual events, as well as three relay teams.
Evan Smith has the top seed time in the 100 butterfly for the Mariners, and others are poised for top-three finishes.
Kuhns said the core of the team is six seniors that have been swimming together since they were 9 or 10 years old.
But those seniors will not be alone. Kuhns said 14 swimmers are going to the state meet, the largest number since she started her involvement with the team in 1990.
"Those seniors have all put in a lot of years together," Kuhns said. "I know they want it bad enough, and half of the battle is the passion to want to do well.
"They're hoping to do things we haven't been able to do before in Homer."
To do that, the Mariners will have to maintain their advantage over Soldotna.
Marey's main ploy in the chase of Homer is to load up the relays. Soldotna is seeded first in the 200 medley relay (Leo Grasso, Clayton Harrison, Aladean Marey, Ty Mann-Schweigert), the 200 freestyle relay (Mann-Schweigert, Harrison, Grasso, Nick Sorrell) and the 400 freestyle relay (Mann-Schweigert, Marey, Grasso, Sorrell).
Mann-Schweigert also is seeded first in the 50 freestyle for the Stars.
"We stand a good shot at winning state," Marey said. "We can't rely on North Pole, Lathrop and Southeast to take points away from Homer.
"We have to go out there and do our best."
Kenai Central qualified Rachel Knowles at diving and Tyson Jolliffe in the 100 backstroke.
Knowles, the runner-up at state last year, should be in a close competition with Service's Katie Spohnholz and Chugiak's Jessica Earp for the title.
"Of those three, there is no person who always stands out above the other," Kenai coach Eleanor Thomson said. "If Rachel's mentally sharp, she can win it."
For Skyview, Stephanie Lambe will swim the 100 freestyle and Lambe, Vanessa Williams, Kris Shedd and Ashley Risch will swim the 200 freestyle relay.
"We weren't planning for that one," Skyview coach Dennis Reger said of the relay. "They were pretty excited when I told them."
Peninsula qualifiers for state swim meet
Homer -- Girls 200-yard medley relay; Boys 200 medley relay; Ben Kuhns (200 freestyle, 100 backstroke); Rhiannon Jennings (200 individual medley); Katelyn Wythe (200 individual medley); Andy Vait (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke); Kevin Wythe (200 individual medley, 500 freestyle); Travis Riley (200 individual medley); Deannie Andree (50 freestyle); Jake Bell (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle); Evan Smith (50 freestyle, 100 butterfly); Renae Rykaczewski (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke); Jamey Smith (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke); Boys 200 freestyle relay; Rhonwen Jennings (100 breaststroke); Girls 400 freestyle relay; Boys 400 freestyle relay.
Kenai Central -- Rachel Knowles (diving); Tyson Jolliffe (100 backstroke).
Seward -- Jacqueline Van Driessche (50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke).
Skyview -- Stephanie Lambe (100 freestyle); Girls 200 freestyle relay.
Soldotna -- Girls 200 medley relay; Boys 200 medley relay; Eve Green (200 freestyle, 100 freestyle); Keely Chavka (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle); Nick Sorrell (200 freestyle, 100 freestyle); Jenna Syverson (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle); Ty Mann-Schweigert (50 freestyle); Abby Kiffmeyer (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke); Amberlee Query (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke); Aladean Marey (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke); Clayton Harrison (100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke); Girls 200 freestyle relay; Boys 200 freestyle relay; Leo Grasso (100 backstroke); Karina Petersen (100 breaststroke); Girls 400 freestyle relay; Boys 400 freestyle relay.
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