Alaska Swimming Hall of Fame Members
Class of 2013 | Class of 2014 | Class of 2015 | Class of 2016 | Class of 2017 |
Class of 2013
Mia was the second Alaskan swimmer, first woman, to qualify for the US Olympic Trials and Andrew was the third. They are now married and living in Anchorage.
Mia was nationally ranked as an age group swimmer from the age of 12 through her senior year in high school. After she entered high school Mia was fast tracked to swimming at the national level and since Alaska didn't have a 50 meter pool, she began training in Southern California where she spent 6 summers with either San Jose Aquatics or the Santa Clara Swim Club.
In August of 1985, Mia became the first Alaskan swimmer to final at a US National Championships. She finished 8th at Nationals, held at Mission Viejo, CA, in the 100 M Breaststroke (1:14.86). She also finished 13th in the 200 Breaststroke that year. As a swimmer at West High School, Mia won the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM 4 years in a row at the high school state championships and broke the state record each year in each event. She is the only Alaskan high school swimmer to win 8 state championships and break state records each time. Mia dominated the breaststroke and IM events in Alaska during those 4 years.
Mia chose to sign with Harvard University upon graduation from high school. In December of 1987 she swam a 1:04.69 and 2:19.58 at an invitational to break Harvard Varsity Records as a college sophomore and become the first swimmer in Alaska to qualify for the US Olympic Trials. She was the first Harvard swimmer to qualify for the NCAA DI Nationals. She swam a 1:04.11 in the 100 that year and a 2:18.76 in the 200 breast. Mia has been inducted into the Harvard Athletic Hall of Fame.
In the summer of 1988, Mia insisted on coming back to Alaska to train for the Trials in order to represent her state at this most prestigious meet. She competed in the '88 Trials in Austin that summer representing Anchorage Aquanauts.
Andrew Billings - Athlete
Andrew Billings qualified for the '88 Trials at the Summer JO Championships held at the newly built Bartlett 50 M pool. At one time, Andrew held every senior freestyle Alaska short course state record in every distance plus the 400 IM. He was also the high point swimmer at our Alaska Senior Championships (the precursor to the Great Alaska Open and considered at the time to be the fastest meet in the state). As a senior representing West Valley HS, he broke the state record in the 200 freestyle, broke the state record in the 500 freestyle, and led-off the 400 free relay with a time which would have won the 100 free that year. His state record in the 200 free stood for 22 years, a record among high school state records. He represented the state as a member of the Alaska All-Star Team his junior year. His senior year he qualified for Junior Nationals but caught the chicken pox while traveling down to the meet and did not compete. As a college freshman, Andrew represented Alaska as a varsity swimmer at UAF and finaled in the 50 free at his first ever NCAA DII Championships becoming the fastest Division II college freshman in the country. He was a 3-time All-American that year making the consolation finals in the 100 and 200 frees.
Andrew was the high point winner for 5 straight years at our Senior Championships
Class of 2014
Maria Reeves - Athlete
Maria Reeves was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she was a member of both the Midnight Sun Swim Team (MSST) and Lathrop High School Swimming & Diving team (LHS). She started swimming competitively when she was 12 years old and loved every second.
Maria first qualified for Junior Nationals in her favorite event, the 50 free, at Regionals her freshman year and kept improving from there. At her second Junior National Championship meet, she qualified for finals in the 50 free and placed 8th in the event. In February 1998, she became Alaska’s fastest female swimmer, and the 14th fastest 15-16 year old in the nation, when she won the 50 free at the Washington Open, qualifying for Nationals with a time of 23.76.
In November 1998, she set both regional and state records in the 50 free with a time of 23.33. Maria helped the LHS women’s team win a state title in 1998 by earning individual first place finishes in the 50 free and 100 breast, as well as being part of two first place finishing relays. That year, Maria was recognized by the Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) as the women’s outstanding swimmer of the year, an honor she shared with Kayla Meiergerd.
In 1999, Maria was voted team captain and led the LHS women’s team to a second state title. Maria was out touched out in her individual 50 free, but redeemed herself by becoming the youngest Alaskan to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in the 50 free, while leading off the 200 free relay. Her lead off time was fast enough to rank her 3rd in the nation for all high school females, plus their 200 free relay set a state record time of 1:36.36, which also placed their relay 3rd in the nation that year. Maria won her individual 100 breast and was also the anchor of a record-setting 400 free relay that solidified the LHS women’s team title. In 1999, Maria shared the ASAA women’s outstanding swimmer of the year award with Emily McCoy.
Maria was a six-time high school All American athlete; three of her high school records still stand today: her individual 50 free, as well as her 200 free and 400 free relays. Maria represented MSST at multiple Junior National and Senior National Championships. Maria earned a 9th place finish at the 1999 U.S. Open in the 50 free. Over her career, Maria set multiple Alaska swimming state records and was awarded several certificates of recognition for national reportable times.
In 2000, Maria was awarded the Jim Growden award by Lathrop High School. Maria signed her letter of intent for a full swimming scholarship to Northwestern University in the spring of 2000 and drove to Anchorage after graduation to train under coaches Cliff Murray and Cindy Pitta while gaining long course swimming experience at Bartlett Pool. At the 2000 Olympic Trials, Maria tied for 40th in the 50 free. The highlight of Maria’s collegiate career was an individual 8th place finish in the 50 free at the 2001 Big Ten Swimming & Diving Championships
Mike coached the Ketchikan Killer Whales from August 1976 to May 1983. He is the second coach in Alaska Swimming history to qualify for Junior Nationals. He is the first Alaska Coach to have two swimmers qualify for Junior Nationals; Cheryl Eichner (200 freestyle and 500 freestyle) and Bob Kennedy (100 and 200 backstroke). Mike is the first coach from SE Alaska to have swimmers qualify for Junior Nationals. Ketchikan Killer Whales won the Alaska Senior Championship in 1978 and 1979. Mike raised the bar for all coaches in Alaska Swimming to produce top flight swimmers.
Mike Smithers’ also the high school swimming and dive team in Ketchikan which dominated high school swimming during the 1970’s. He lead his teams to two Boy’s and four Girl’s State Championships. His teams had a four year dual meet win record and in 1978 and 1980 won both Boy’s and Girls’ State Championships. Coach Smithers was a tireless worker, constantly looking for the latest techniques and drills that he could bring to his swimmers. He set high standards for his athletes and expected a 100% effort each and every day. In honor of his accomplishments, the City of Ketchikan named the pool “Mike Smithers Community Pool”. Mike Smithers was also inducted into the Alaska High School Swimming Hall of Fame in 2012. Coach Smithers passed away in 1990 from leukemia.
John Abrams -Contributor
John Abrams became involved in Alaska Swimming in 1975 when he heard that Knik Swim Club opened its doors to the Chugiak-Eagle River community at Chugiak High School. His son, Carl, joined the team in October of that year and he officially became a swimming parent. In February of 1976, I, his daughter Jill, joined the team as well. Now that both of his children were involved in swimming, he jumped into the sport with both feet. Over the next 15 years John tirelessly served Alaska Swimming. He was the President of Knik Swim Club for numerous years, the President of Alaska Swimming, head coach of Bartlett High School for 2 years. He was a member of the 50 Meter Pool Committee, and, following Dave Auschard’s departure from the state, moved from being a committee member to Chairing the committee. This committee oversaw the design and construction of Bartlett Pool–the first and only 50 meter pool in the State.
While attending a National Swimming Meeting in Snowbird, Utah, he learned that the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), the governing body of swimming throughout the US, was suddenly obsolete. Immediately upon his return, he played the lead role in converting the Alaska swimming program from an AAU program, to membership in the newly formed US Swimming Program, where we acquired the title “Alaska Swimming.”
He served the swimming community by faithfully—officiating nearly every club swim meet in the Anchorage area and on the state level for over 12 years. Additionally, he officiated local and state high school meets. He began officiating by becoming a certified Stroke and Turn judge, then became a starter and referee. As a recently certified starter myself, I now have a small vision of the countless hours my dad invested in overseeing and officiating Alaska Swimming’s events. Prior to Hi-Tec computer systems, John programmed a swim meet entry system that ran on the earliest Apple computers. For years several meet directors throughout the state used his program to organize meet entries.
Now that John is retired, he enjoys watching his grandchildren swim competitively. He smiles every time he sits in the bleachers at Bartlett Pool, enjoying the fruits of his labor for Alaska Swimming. It is especially pleasing for him to see 16 lanes being utilized at one time, whereas in the past, most pools only had 6. In light of John’s commitment to and advancement of Alaska Swimming, he rightfully deserves to become a part of Alaska’s Swimming Hall of Fame.
Class of 2015
About the 2015 Inductees
Micha Burden - Swimmer
- Age Group Swimmer with Northern Lights Swim Club, Anchorage
- Member of Alaska Swimming State Record Relays
- 15-16 800 Free Relay
- Open 800 Free Relay
- Alaska Swimming Individual State Record Holder
- 15-16 200m IM
- 15-16 400m IM
- 17-18 200m Free
- Open 400m IM
- 1998 High School State Champ – 200 IM
- Golden West Jr College 2000 & 2001
- California Berkeley 2002-2004 (red shirted 2003 season due to injury)
- 2002 NCAA Champ qualifier in 200 Free, 500 Free
- 2002 NCAA All-American in 800 Free Relay
- 2004 NCAA Champ qualifier in 100, 200, 400 Free
- 2004 NCAA All-American in 400 Free Relay
- 2007 USA Swimming Open Water Nationals – 2nd 25k, 2nd 5k
- 2007 USA Swimming Open Water World Championship Trials – 1st 10k
- 2008 FINA Open Water Championships – 31st place 10k
- 2008 Olympic Trials – 34th 400 Free, 27th 800 Free, 73rd 200 Free
Sara Fallico - Swimmer
- Represented University Swim Club and Northern Lights Swim Club as an Age Group Swimmer in Alaska Swimming
- 2nd in top 16 as a ten yr. old in 100 fly.
- Ranked in top 16 every year from 1989-1994.
- Qualified for Jr. Nats at age of 12
- Made top 8 in 200 and 400 IM, 100 and 200 Back at Jr. Nats over the period of 1989-93.
- 2nd place at Dallas Jr. Nats in 200 back 1992 and selected to US National Jr. team in that event which competed in Paris.
- Held more state records than any other swimmer in AK history in 10 and under, 11-12, 13-14 and open age groups.
- Multiple State HS winner and record holder.
- Won three consecutive events at the 1991 ASAA HS State Championship, 200 Medley Relay, 200 Free, and 200 IM.
Derek Gibb - Swimmer
- Age Group Swimmer with Viking Swim Club, Petersburg
- Still holds some SE Champ Records (9-10 100 Fly, & member of two 13-14 relay records)
- Golden West Jr College 2000 & 2001
- Broke California Junior College record in 50 free (2001)
- Auburn University 2002 – 2004
- 2003 All-American – 200 Free Relay, 50 Free, 200 Medley Relay, 100 Back, 100 Free
- 2004 All-American – 200 Free Relay, 50 Free, 200 Medley Relay, 200 Back, 100 Free, 400 Free Relay
- 1997 High School State Champ – 50 Free, 100 Back (tied)
- 1998 High School State Champ – 100 Free, 100 Back
- 2000 Olympic Trials – T71st 100 Free, 31st 50 Free
- 2003 Member of World University Games
- 2004 Olympic Trials – 15th 50 Free, 19th 100 Back
Class of 2016
About the 2016 Inductees
Clark Rush - Swimmer
Age Group : SPA & Anchorage Aquanauts
High School : West Anchorage
College : University of Washington
Age Group/AAU/USA Swimming/High School Accomplishments
- Held 23 separate state records as an age group swimmer
- Outstanding (Jr High) Athlete for Anchorage Borough School District 1974
- AK High School Champ and Record Holder
- 100 Back every year through 1977
- 100 Fly Sr year in 1977
- One of the first 3 Alaskans to qualify, and compete in, the US Jr Nationals in Huntsville, AL in 1978, placing 7th in the 100 Back with a new state record time of :54.1
- 1979 US Sr Nationals – First Alaskan to qualify and compete, 100 Back
- 1980 US Sr Nationals – 100 Back, 200 Back
- 1980 US Olympic Trials – First Alaskan to qualify and compete; 44th place 100 Back
- 1981 US Sr Nationals – 100 Back, 200 Back
- 1982 US Sr Nationals – 100 Back, 200 Back
Additional Collegiate Accomplishments
- Competed at PAC 10 Champs every year. Placing as high as 4th in the 100 Back. Also qualified in the 50 Free and 400 Medley Relay. Held the University of Washington Record for the 100 Back and 400 Medley Relay
- First Alaskan to qualify for, and compete in, the Men’s NCAA Division 1 Championships representing University of Washington. Qualified 3 years in 100 Back, untimately placing 17th with a time of :51.15. Also competed in the 400 Medley Relay in each of those years.
Mike Miller - Coach
- Mike began his coaching career at Glacier Swim Club in 1975 and in two years took the club from the worst team in the state (12th place) to winning the Alaska Senior Championship in 1977
- GSC had 48 swimmers when he took over and two years later had 132 on the team with team members qualifying for Region XII senior level (now called Senior Sectionals)
- GSC was the first team in Alaska Swimming history to participate in the 1975 Region XII Age Group LC Championship with five swimmers; one set three Region XII records and achieved Top 16 rankings
- He moved to Oregon City, OR, in 1977 where he was the Head Swimming Coach of Oregon City High School and the Oregon City Swim Club for four years. Mike doubled the number of swimmers on the club team during his time there. His swimmers qualified for Region XII (Senior Sectionals), achieved Top 16 rankings while setting Oregon state individual and relay records
- Mike moved back to Juneau in 1984 and coached GSC for 12 years and Juneau-Douglas High School for five seasons
- His high school teams produced 1 High School All American, 21 Alaska State High School Champions, 4 Alaska State High School record holders, 38 Region V (SE Alaska) record holders, and 60 Region V (SE Alaska) Champions. The women’s team dual meet record was 40-0 and the men’s team dual meet record was 32-8 over five seasons. The women’s team was Region V Champions all five seasons and the men’s team was team champions four out of the five seasons
- He more than doubled the number of swimmers on GSC starting with 62 swimmers and ending with 150
- A total of eight GSC swimmers competed at the Junior National level (both short course and long course) achieving consolation/championship finals
- Two swimmers competed at the Senior National level and one competed at the 1992 Olympic Trials representing Purdue Swimming/Glacier Swim Club
- Five swimmers achieved USS Top 16 rankings in their respective age groups. GSC was the Alaska Senior Championship team from 1984-1990, Alaska Senior Champs Runner-ups 1991-1993 and Alaska Senior third place team 1994-1996
- Mike coached numerous Alaska State record holders at the age group and senior levels and numerous Alaska State champions at the age group and senior levels
- His swimmers were Region XII (now Western Sectionals) champions at the age group and senior levels
- GSC’s highest combined Region XII Age Group Championships finish was 11th place (1993) and Region XII Seniors combined team placing 18th (1991 & 1992) with twenty-two Region XII record holders at the age group level
- In 2002 Mike was an Olympic Torch bearer in the torch relay for the 2002 Winter Olympics
- Mike was a highly sought after announcer at state championship level meets because of his attention to detail and extensive knowledge of each and every swimmer’s athletic accomplishments
- Mike was considered THE historian and go-to-guy for all questions concerning the early years of Alaska Swimming, it’s swimmers, coaches and officials
- At the age of 43 Mike was diagnosed with cancer and given two to three years to live. He entered into an aggressive experimental clinical trial and beat that cancer. He was then diagnosed with another form of cancer and beat that cancer as well. He became one of the most tireless advocates in the nation to ease the burden of individuals and families fighting cancer as well as helping pass legislation at both the state and national level to mandate insurance coverage for prostate cancer screening. He was a regular member of cancer support groups throughout the last 20 years of his life
- For the last 8 years of his professional coaching career Mike was an assistant coach at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
Larry Holman - Coach
- Has coached Alaskan teams at three levels (club, high school and masters) for close to 50 years
- First job was assistant coach for the Fort Richardson Graylings in 1968
- Head Coach of SPA of Anchorage, one of Alaska’s first swim teams, starting in 1970
- Started coaching masters swimmers in 1970
- Coached Clark Rush who eventually became Alaska’s first Olympic Trials qualifier
- Coached Becky Haines (a 1:01 backstroker in the early 70s)
- Coached MaryAnn Westover (the first sub-1:00 female swimmer in Alaska)
- Coached Bill Mills, Chris Silva and Charlotte Silva as well as many other age groupers who went on to have successful swimming careers
- Attended American Swimming Coaches National Convention in Montreal Canada in 1973 and Palo Alto in 1974
- Became the Aquatics Director for the Anchorage Borough in1974
- Coached Aurora Swim Team in early 70s
- Coached East High School Swim Team in 1975
- Moved to Homer and coached Kachemak Swim Club 1978 – 1980 (coached Cori Bittner)
- Coached Anchorage Aquanauts after moving back to Anchorage for graduate school (1986)
- Coached West High School in 1986
- During the mid-80s coached Brett Walter (53 in the 100 back), Joel Acker (21 in the 50 free), and Molly Brown (58 in the 100 fly)
- Was the 1988 Zone Coach; put on a week long camp for the Zone swimmers and brought up Gold Medalist and World Record Holder in the 100 breaststroke, Steve Lundquist
- Participated in 8 day Coaches Science Seminar in Colorado Springs in 1986
- Masters swimmer for many years; currently holds Alaska state masters records in the 50 free and 50 fly in the 65 – 69 age group
- Currently coaches masters swimmers and triathletes at the Alaska Club East, focusing on maintaining good stroke technique as has been his aim as a coach for 50 years
Class of 2017
About the 2017 Inductees
Samantha Wicks – Swimmer
- Age Group Swimmer with Alaska Pacific Swim Club and Northern Lights Swim Club
- AK Swimming Record Holder:
- SCM – 15/16 100m Free, 15/16 100m Back, 15/16 200m Back, Open 200m Free Relay, Open 100m Back, Open 200m Back
- LCM – 13/14 100m Back, 17/18 100m Back, 17/17 200m IM, Open 100m Back, Open 200m IM
- SCY – 15/16 100yd Back, 17/18 100yd Back, Open 100yd Back
- High School Swimmer with East Anchorage High School 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12
- 7 time individual state champion
- Alaska High School Record Holder 100yd Back
- State Championship Outstanding Swimmer 2011, 2009
- Collegiate Swimmer with Boise State University 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16
- NCAA “A” cut 200 Medley Relay
- competed in 7 events at NCAA Championships
- competed in 3 events at NCAA Championships
- Mountain West Swimmer of the Year and Sr Award
- 5 Mountain West titles
- competed in 5 events at NCAA Championships
- 2016 Olympic Trial Qualifier in 100 Back…58th place
Heather Royer - Swimmer
- Age Group Swimmer with Fairbanks Arctic Swim Team
- Alaska Zone Team 1985 & 1987
- High School Swimmer with West Valley High School
- Collegiate Swimmer
- Bowdoin College (1992-93)
- Ponmona Pitzer (1993-96)
- 1993 NCAA Division III National Water Polo Champions
- 1996 NCAA Division III 'B' cut in 400 IM
Catalina Channel: Women's Relay - World Record (1994) and Solo Crossing (1998)
English Channel Crossing (1999)
Straits of Gibraltar Crossing (2004)
Dolphin Club Member since (1996)
Consultant to Kathryne Bertine for open water swimming when Kathryne was on her quest sponsored by ESPN to make the 2008 Olympics in Beijing