Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) - In the final leg of his final race as a high school senior, in the last event of the 2021 State Swimming & Diving Championship at Bartlett High School, Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé senior Tytan Frawley touched the pool wall to clinch the state championship for the Crimson Bears boys' 400 yard relay. A few lanes down, Kodiak’s Jackson Krug also stretched to the finish with the identical time.
“It really kind of left me speechless,” Frawley said. “I was excited. I was tired. Kind of feeling everything at once.”
While JDHS tied in the event with Kodiak, the co-win pushed the Crimson Bears past Service High School and into fourth place for the final team standings 62-60. Kodiak would have to nervously wait to see if they had enough for the team title, which they did with 79. Dimond was second with 71 and Eagle River third with 69.
JDHS junior Chaz VanSlyke led off the Crimson Bears’ relay, hitting 49.65 seconds, including 23.77 for his first 50 yards and 25.88 the second.
“That’s not my best time but I was lead off,” he said. “I feel like lead off is pretty important and I think my teammates did well. I am proud of us and our team. We worked hard all season. We did the best we could and we made state fun.”
Senior Adrell Mulgrew-Truitt posted a 50.69 next, 23.70 in the first 50 yards and 26.99 the next, losing his swim cap along the way, and started to move the Crimson Bears into the pool announcer’s vocabulary.
“Pretty much what was going through my head was, ‘Put it all in the pool,’ because this is it,” he said. “I gave it my all. Even though my cap came off you can’t stop. As much as you want to, you can’t. I put all that I had into the pool. It was all really a team effort. We all chipped in and got a first place. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Junior Harrison Holt hit a 48.35 in the third leg, going 23.20 the first 50 yards and 25.15 next.
“I was just super excited about swimming it,” Holt said. “I think we all did really well. I think we ended up with a great time for us. The season has been super fun and I’m just glad that I got to do it with these guys.”
Frawley had the biggest task. The anchor can’t lose time and often is expected to gain placings. Frawley sizzled through a 22.50 first 50 yards and an impressive 24.13 in the second to total 46.63.
“When you’re swimming, sometimes you think about something, sometimes you think about nothing at all,” Frawley said. “I was really just trying to, like, you know, I was thinking about all these guys and really just going through all the times that we have had and the close races we have had together. And just trying one last time, one final hurrah for me and Adrell. And we’re just trying to create some memories maybe that these guys can relive or maybe our future teammates will live sometime. I’m just trying to leave it all in there.”
This wasn’t the only heart-stopping, crowd igniting race of the day for Frawley. Earlier in the afternoon, he won the boy’s 200 free by a fingernail, out-touching Kodiak’s Krug 1:43.42 to 1:43.86.
“Senior year,” Frawley said. “Just trying to enjoy my last year.”
That win probably cost Krug the Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet nod as Krug had won the boys' 100 free (46.64) in the meet. But Thunder Mountain’s Patrick Foy won two races, the 200 IM (1:50.55) and the 100 breast in a new state record (55.45) and got that accolade.
“It’s really hard to describe,” Frawley said. “I’m speechless with the results.”
Frawley’s surge in the final leg of the 400 relay is even more remarkable because he swam the 500 free just seven races earlier, and placed second with a time of 4:45.36 (Conrad Fawcett, of Service, won in 4:41.59).
Also earlier in the day VanSlyke won the boys' 100 fly in 52.17, just ahead of West Valley’s Ashton Banks (53.51) and TMHS’ Benson Bourdreaux (54.15).
“I got a best time,” VanSlyke said. “I’ve been practicing really hard.”
VanSlyke also placed sixth in the 200 IM in 2:00.14. And Holt placed fifth in the 200 free with 1:47.41 and fifth in the 100 back in 55.32.
Holt (50 back in 26.22), VanSlyke (50 fly in 22.95) and Frawley (50 free in 21.25) also teamed with Matthew Plang (50 breast in 28.60) in the boys' 200 yard medley relay, placing fourth in 1:39.02.
Frawley remembered when he was a freshman swimming for the Sitka Wolves at the 2019 state championships in the 400 free relay and watching senior teammate JD Gagner give his every stroke to the sport. Gagner would also swim the anchor leg and at the end, his emotional release with teammates and coach Ben Adams was inspirational.
“We qualified for the same thing,” Frawley said. “And I remember JD was the only senior. He got out of the pool when the race finished and hugged me and cried. And I think I know how he feels now. It’s such a weird feeling to know that this is it… it’s like… I don’t know… I wouldn’t rather do it any other way.”
Above - The Kodiak and JDHS co-champion 400 relay teams at the 2021 State Swimming & Diving Championship at Bartlett High School, Saturday, Nov. 6.