Tooele senior Myra Miller wasn’t among the favorites to win the Class 4A girls’ 200-yard individual medley state title going into the state championship meet Friday and Saturday at the South Davis Recreation Center in Bountiful.
After all, she was ranked just No. 18 in the event going into the meet, though with some swimmers opting for other events, she found herself in the No. 8 spot. Further complicating matters, her entire meet nearly fell apart when she missed her preliminary heat on Friday, which could have caused her to be disqualified.
“I look out there, and there’s nobody swimming in lane four, where I’m supposed to be swimming,” Miller said. “(The official) goes, ‘just jump in lane one!’ I jumped on the block for the last heat and I was laughing, thinking, ‘you have got to be kidding me — this is not happening right now.’”
But after all that, Miller put on a show. She qualified fourth for Saturday’s final, obliterating her personal-best by 8.24 seconds after jumping into the pool at the last second in the prelims. Then, with the state title on the line, she put together the race of her life, shaving another 1.69 seconds off her PR with a winning time of 2 minutes, 17.29 seconds and edging Ridgeline senior Hailey Rigby by three-hundredths to capture the gold medal.
“It was insane,” Miller said. “I think the whole missing the race just got my adrenaline going. Walking up to the block, I didn’t even have a doubt in my mind. I was like, ‘all right, it’s time to turn it on. Let’s do this. I can’t get this far and not win state.’”
The top four competitors were incredibly close at the finish. Miller was third after the butterfly leg by .09 seconds, and took the lead by .67 seconds with a strong backstroke leg. Her breaststroke had her in front by .82 seconds entering the final leg — the freestyle.
Then, it was a mad dash to the finish. Rigby’s last 50 yards went by in 31.26, while Sky View’s Allie Schwartz finished the freestyle in 32.40. Snow Canyon’s Olivia Jenkins made it a four-woman race with a blistering final 50-yard time of 31.05, while Miller recorded a final leg of 33.10.
That was just fast enough for Miller to beat Rigby, with Schwartz another nine-hundredths back. Jenkins was just .45 seconds behind Schwartz in fourth place.
All four competitors were emotional and exhausted afterward, Miller said.
“Of course, I was happy, but I was having an asthma attack,” she said. “All the girls were crying — the other girls were crying because they lost, and I was crying because I won and because I couldn’t breathe. I crawled out of the pool and I was on my hands and knees, and I couldn’t get up. I was focused on getting up because I was kind of embarrassed that I couldn’t get up.”
Miller carried the momentum from her 200 IM victory into her second event of the meet, the 100 breast. Having already broken the Tooele High record with a time of 1:10.17 in the prelims to earn the No. 2 seed, she felt no pressure, and put together a time of 1:10.32 to beat Green Canyon’s Mia Huebner by three-hundredths for the silver medal.
“I was swimming with one of one of my teammates, Kylee Randle, who’s another fantastic swimmer,” Miller said. “It was my last race of high school, and I was thinking, ‘I’m so happy to be here with these incredible athletes.’ It was just a joy to swim with all those athletes during that race.”
Miller hopes to compete at the collegiate level now that her high-school career has come to a close.
Stansbury sophomore Katelyn Taylor also had a strong showing, finishing fifth in the 100 butterfly (1:05.84) and 100 backstroke (1:03.72). Tooele sophomore Lauren von Niederhausern was seventh in the 100 free, and Randle was eighth in the 100 breast in 1:15.37. Tooele senior Sharon Seals was ninth in the 200 free in 2:09.14 and 10th in the 500 free in 5:51.27.
Tooele’s Kate Walker, Randle, Miller and Seals were seventh in the 200 medley relay in 2:03.57. Seals, Randle, von Niederhausern and Miller were seventh in the 200 free relay in 1:48.79, and Walker, Petra Anderson, Lachele Coombs and von Niederhausern were 11th in the 400 free relay in 4:13.22.
Tooele finished sixth in the team standings with 136 points, and Stansbury was 17th with 28 points. Sky View (332) won the team championship, with Ridgeline (262), Snow Canyon (253), Green Canyon (207) and Desert Hills (181) rounding out the top five.
Stansbury’s boys medley relay team of Xavier Jefferies, Adrian Hinton, Isaac Adair and Wyatt Barry brought home a sixth-place finish in a time of 1:45.61. The Stallions also finished eighth in the 400 free relay, with Adair, Ben Wilson, Joshua Reynolds and Jefferies finishing in 3:36.39, while Jonah Jensen, Wilson, Hinton and Barry were 11th in the 200 free relay in 1:38.11.
Adair was ninth in the 100 fly (56.64) and 11th in the 50 free (23.83) for SHS. Hinton was ninth in the 100 breast in 1:06.58, and Jefferies brought home an 11th-place finish in the 200 IM (2:09.71) and a 12th-place finish in the 100 back (59.49). Reynolds was 13th in the 100 breast (1:07.59) and 14th in the 100 fly (58.63).
Andrew Crane was 15th in the 100 breast in 1:08.73 for Tooele. Teammate Harrison Stoddard was 16th in the 100 free in 2:00.17. The Buffaloes finished 11th in the 400 free relay, as Stoddard, Ryan Beard, Garret Pearson and Crane posted a time of 3:42.43. The same foursome finished 12th in the 200 free relay in 1:39.14.
Stansbury finished 10th as a team with 102 points, and Tooele was 17th with 25. Snow Canyon won the state championship with 352 points, followed by Sky View (261), Ridgeline (239), Desert Hills (163) and Cedar City (146).