On Friday, Unalaskans joined the high school swim team in a community swim meet. At the event, eight community members competed against high schoolers.
Head Coach Delanney Lane said the event looked almost the same as the high school and junior high meet held late last month, with several similar COVID-19 precautions in place to protect public health, such as designated seats for swimmers and limited reserved seating in the mezzanine for spectators. But in this case, the high schoolers competed against a limited number of community members that had signed up for the event, rather than the junior high team.
"We had high schoolers swimming together at six-feet distance," explained Lane. "And then we had community members that came and they were at six-feet distance. And they [wore] masks when on deck or not swimming and [removed] masks when going up to swim."
Lane said, despite added challenges and restrictions, the meet went well. Several of the high school swimmers achieved impressive new personal records, including sophomore Joe Buckelew who received a new personal best time for the 500-yard freestyle, with a time of just over nine minutes and four seconds.
Kiara Villamor broke the standing women's community 100-yard backstroke record with a time of one minute and 19.29 seconds.
While the season has been a challenge overall for her and the team, Lane said she is impressed with the swimmers' resilience and performances.
"At the end of the day, I'm sure it's just heartbreaking to realize that they can't go see their other friends from other towns to swim against them and be challenged in that way," said Lane. "But I think this year has taught them way more about how much swimming is really an individual sport. You are part of a team and you support each other as a team, but really, the whole point of swimming is to beat your own time, to beat the clock, and to continue to get better."
Lane said last week's meet was also a chance to celebrate Unalaska's only senior swimmer Bao Be. The team recognized Be with a special cheer and presented him with a gift basket.
"What was fun about this swim meet was that it was a chance to celebrate Bao," said Lane. "[Especially] as he is going to be leaving high school after graduation to go onto bigger and better things."
But this meet was not Be's last meet as an Unalaska High School swimmer. Lane said she's planning on holding a final meet on Friday at 3 p.m. that will include the junior high swimmers.
Spectators must make reservations and spots will be saved for those parents and family members who were unable to attend previous meets.