Earlier this month, the Thunder Mountain High School boys swim and dive team made history. Bergen Davis, Casey Hamilton, Spencer Holt and Co. became the first TMHS swim team to win a state championship, becoming just the second sport to earn a title for the school.
The team came a long ways in a short amount of time. Three years ago, only three TMHS boys qualified for the state meet. Many of the serious contenders bring 10 or more. TMHS qualfied eight this season, and each played a key role.
“To see the progression for TM the last few years has been awesome considering we went from three boys placing about the very bottom overall freshman year and then this year being able to come in and win it,” Davis said.
Here’s a look at some of the numbers that tell the story of Nov. 4, the day the Falcons flew past all their competition.
3.01 seconds — 200-yard individual medley
This is the difference between the state record-breaking 200 IM time of Kodiak’s Talon Lindquist (1:50.08) and Thunder Mountain’s Bergen Davis (1:53.07). Davis, who won the event at state the season before, did better than he expected against one of the most decorated high school swimmers in Alaska history.
“I was really surprised that I could keep up with him because going into it I figured he would go out a lot faster than me in the first 100,” Davis said.
Davis and Lindquist were even with each other three-fourths of the way through the race. Lindquist used his freestyle to seal the victory and a new state record. Davis’ time is good for second in Alaska high school history. Casey Hamilton finished right behind Davis for the third fastest time in history (1:53.21).
2.11 seconds — 200-yard medley relay
This is the difference between the state championship-winning time by TMHS in 2016 (1:38.58) and this year (1:36.47).
Senior Casey Hamilton, a first-year Falcon who moved to town from Colorado, replaced junior Noatak Post as the backstroke in the relay. Somewhat surprisingly, Post didn’t mind. Post said there were no hard feelings from being subbed out. In fact, it better aligned with his goals for this season. Post said he wanted to focus more on school and music this year rather than swimming.
“I was like, ‘OK, good. There’s someone here who’s even better than me on that relay so they’ll do even better without me,” Post said.
0.37 seconds — 100-yard butterfly
This had to be the closest event of the meet.
Four swimmers — Kodiak’s Talon Lindquist, Colony’s Jake Simmons, Thunder Mountain’s Spencer Holt and Dimond’s Reed Dittlinger — finished just 0.37 seconds apart from each other. All four swam just under 50 seconds, with Lindquist coming in first.
“Some years, a 54-(second time) wins the 100 fly so that was really exciting,” Holt said. “Even though I got third place it’s really not that big of deal considering I lost only by a couple hundredths of a second.”
3.17 seconds — 400-yard freestyle relay
This is the amount of time between the second-place TMHS and fourth-place Colony in the last event of the meet. By that time, the stakes of the race were clear for both TMHS and Dimond. If Dimond won and the Falcons placed fourth, the Lynx would win state by one point. If, however, Dimond won and TMHS took third, the Falcons would win state by one point.
“Before it we all knew how much was riding on that relay so there was so much energy going into it,” Bergen Davis said.
Spencer Holt jumped in the pool last for TMHS as the anchor leg.
“I was a little nervous because I knew Service was right behind us, which they had Caleb Law who won the 100 freestyle,” Holt said. “I knew he was going to be going really fast right behind me so I knew I had to really push it.”
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.