GOLD RUSH SWIM MEET— Brandon Ford plows through the Nome Pool during last weekend’s Gold Rush Swim Meet hosted by the Nome Northstar Swim Team.

NNST swimmers surge into qualifying times

By Melissa Ford,
NNST Head Coach
The Nome Northstar Swim Team hosted the 2023 Gold Rush Swim Meet last weekend. The Stingray Swim Team came from North Pole to participate and left with qualifying times also. The Nome pool was fast and furious this weekend, with a total of 15 Age Group Qualifying times.
Twice as many swimmers are already qualified from the NNST’s prior year’s Age Group. “We saw good competition because of the swimmers’ hard work” says Coach Bev Levene.  Referring to the many personal bests this meet by Talan Johnson, Coach Levene says “Talan has been taking every opportunity to practice, coming to every A.M. practice and attending every extra practice offered.”
Coaches Bev Levene, Marcy O’Neil and Kirsten Bey all swam exhibition 400 Freestyle so that our youngest distance swimmer, Denali Walrath would have company during the grueling swim. Denali is training to attain a one-mile swim at 10 years of age, and dreams of swimming the English Channel one day.
For 16 swimmers this was their first ever official meet.  Several NNST swimmers will travel to Fairbanks this upcoming weekend to attend the Sweetheart Meet, and Water Bowl in early February.
The next statewide meet will be the Age Group Championship at the end of February.

Nome Pool upgrades for sanctioned meets
This weekend marked the inaugural meet with the new timing system. As the meet progressed, Nome swimmers improved greatly in using the touch pads, which will be a boon for the traveling team members. The new timing system will allow Nome swimmers to qualify for state and regional championship meets without having to spend a fortune on airfare.
Nome swimmers can expect to see several sanctioned mini-meets and time trials throughout the swim season. The longer, four session meet of this weekend was done in a format that would allow our team to certify users of the timing equipment software and to train and certify enough officials to allow for sanctioned events.
Scott Johnson from Northern Area Swimming flew in to help train local volunteers in performing various official duties, with a strong focus on Stroke and Turn judging. “It will be good for the judging to be strict here at the local level, so when your swimmers get to move into higher levels of competition, they won’t find themselves destroyed with disqualifying swims” said Johnson “It’s really devastating for a swimmer to think they are doing really well, only to go to a bigger meet and be DQ’d.”
We were really lucky to have Scott, who has over 11 years of experience, and is certified in almost every position. He was able to help with the equipment and the judging, and gave so many helpful ideas for running better meets.
Coaches expect that as the swimmers get more familiar with the touchpad equipment, our traveling teams will experience noticeable time drops.

The following swimmers achieved Age Group Qualifying times during the
Gold Rush Swim Meet:
Girls 100 Meter Back: Kinley Knipfer 1:45.54; Ella Hubert 51.11
Girls 100 Meter Breast:Lexi Blandford 2:05.95
Girls 50 Meter Back:Kinley Knipfer 45.75. Ella Hubert 51.11
Girls 100 Meter Freestyle: Kinley Knipfer 1:33.48, Lexi Blandford 1:37.29, Piper Lewis 1:38.99
Girls 50 Meter Freestyle:Kinley Knipfer 40.80, Lexi Blandford 41.67
Boys 50 Meter Freestyle:Brandon Ford 35.20, Talan Johnson 30.78, (SST) Nathan Priebe 31.19
Girls 200 Meter Freestyle: Kinley Knipfer 3:33.34


The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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