Just three-tenths of a second off his record-best butterfly, Tooele’s Brandon Johnson touched the wall for his first state championship Saturday at the 3A state swim meet.
Johnson swam to a first-place finish with a time of 53.80 to bring home Tooele High School’s only individual state championship. Wasatch High School took home both the boys and girls team championships.
On the girls’ side, Tooele finished in 10th place, and Stansbury finished in 18th place. On the boys’ side, Stansbury finished in fourth place, and Tooele finished in seventh place. Tanner Higley’s 10th-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke, gave Grantsville just enough points to finish in 20th place out of 23 teams in the boys division.
Johnson not only brought home the only THS state title, but also the only title of the 3A Tooele County schools. Stansbury’s Jonathan Buckendorf also medaled in the butterfly with a sixth-place finish at 57.13. He and the other Stansbury boys put together a few medaling performances to earn fourth place.
Ryan Brown earned fourth place in the 100-yard backstroke at 57.22 and sixth place in the 50-yard freestyle at 22.84. Garrett Hillman earned sixth place in the 500-yard freestyle at 5:11.13. Buckendorf also earned sixth place in the 200-yard freestyle at 1:53.17. Stansbury’s 400-yard freestyle relay team also medaled with a fourth-place finish at 3:26.92.
Johnson highlighted Tooele’s seventh-place finish. The 200-yard medley relay team took fifth place at 1:45.86 with Johnson swimming the butterfly. Johnson also took second place in the 200-yard individual medley at 2:03.05 behind Park City’s Zach Carfi at 2:01.30. The 200-yard freestyle relay team finished in third place with a time of 1:34.14 behind Wasatch in first and Juan Diego in second. Quinten Smith just missed medaling in the 100-yard breaststroke with a seventh-place finish and a time of 1:07.58.
The Tooele girls had two medaling performances en route to their 10th-place finish. The 200-yard medley relay team finished in sixth place at 2:03.56. Tajia Perkins took fifth place in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:13.55.
“The team scores were very close, and we just didn’t get the points we need in the first and second heats that would have moved us up in the standings,” Tooele coach Mel Roberts said. “I was disappointed in our final standings in the meet but felt for the swimmers. They had worked hard all season (and) deserved to have a better performance than we did at the final meet of the season.”
Tooele’s girls team loses just three seniors to graduation in Perkins, Alexis Hardy and Briana Boulton with everyone else coming back for another run next year.
“The boys on the other hand will lose every swimmer who scored at state this year with the exception of Andrew Merkley and Peter Imlay,” Roberts said. “We do have potential in those who did not graduate, but we will need to go out and get some freshmen and underclassmen to work with and begin rebuilding the boys team.”