Tooele County’s three burgeoning high school swim programs met face-to-face Saturday and learned as much about themselves as they did each other.
For the record, Tooele girls (428) beat Stansbury (325) and Grantsville (246). The Stallions grabbed top honors in the boys events, racking up 480 points compared to Tooele’s 335 and Grantsville’s 169.
Two days earlier, Stansbury boys topped Ogden and Tooele while the Buff girls grabbed first place in the tri-meet.
The Cowboy paddlers traveled north Thursday where the boys and girls team competed against Class 4A Ben Lomond.
In swimming, region and state are the meets that matter the most. Regular-season won-loss records have zero impact on who qualifies for state or final team standings at region and state.
As a result, regular-season meets are used for measuring individual progress and determining best events for swimmers.
Tooele coach Holly Tate drove that point home when she reported that her athletes recorded 36 personal-best times Thursday and an additional 27 Saturday morning.
“Because of their hard work and competitive spirits, our kids continue to turn in amazing times,” Tate said. “We all wish we had more time for additional yardage in the pool, but our swimmers continue to improve despite that obstacle.”
The six high school teams share practice and meet times at the Pratt Aquatic Center with each other and the public.
Grantsville coach Chism Nash says his first-year boys and girls make up a significant portion of his young teams.
“Every meet we have seen our swimmers drop time. This kind of improvement is just fun to watch,” he said. “Some of our fastest swimmers have been unable to attend these past few meets, so we have yet to see our full potential yet.”
Hadlee Begay, one of the state’s top swimmers among all classifications, continued to show her prowess Saturday.
The junior speed demon broke the 1-minute barrier, easily winning the 100-yard butterfly, and she cruised to a top performance in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5 minutes, 37.21 seconds.
“Ben Smurthwaite and Zane Thomas just keep getting better and better,” Nash said.
Smurthwaite edged Tooele’s Cade McEachern in the 100 fly and finished third in the 500 free.
Stansbury’s Caroline Wilson followed her second-place 100 free finish by topping a fast flight of breaststrokers in the time of 1:14.27. She also swam on the SHS winning medley relay with Katelyn Taylor, Kally Morris and Trixia Fisher.
That foursome also won the women’s 200 free relay.
Morris, who this past week signed a national Letter-of-Intent to swim for the University of Texas-Odessa, grabbed first-place honors in the 100 fly.
Annalee Beard and Aspen Grgich proved to be the top female performers for Tooele.
Beard paced the fields in both the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke as she paced runner-up swimmers by comfortable margins.
Grgich, who earned team swimmer of the meet honors, won the 200 free and 100 free, where she eclipsed the 60-second mark with a time of 59.27.
Captain Aspen Walker, Kylee Randle, Sharon Seals, Lauren von Niederhausern, Myra Miller and Lachele Coombs helped pile on points for the winning THS girls team.
Youngsters Adalie Frank, Petra Anderson, Kate Walker and Dana Evans added valuable points for THS .
Lyndsey Boren earned swimmer of the meet honors for the Tooele girls Thursday.
Top boy performers in the county tri-meet for Tooele included Cooper Woods, McEachern, Andrew Crane and Harrison Stoddard.
Jose Gomez-Santos, Nathaniel Cramer, and Sealmon Larsen all turned in personal-best times for the Buffs.
Tooele coaches named freshman Phoenix Walker as the “Swimmer of the Meet” for his work ethic, time drops and team spirit.
The Stansbury foursome of Josh Reynolds, Adrian Hinton, Ben Wilson and Kampbell Anderson secured the Stallion victory with a 1-2-3-4 super sweep in the 100 breast.
Earlier, Reynolds won the 200 free while teammates Xavier Jefferies (200 individual medley) and Isaac Adair (50 and 100 free) hit the finishing pads first in their respective events.
“The SHS swimmers are having a great start to the season,” said coach Brittany Eldredge. “Nearly everyone has already recorded a personal record and those who have not, are just a little off.”
She noted that Bayleigh Anderson and Jonah Jenson both had best times in each of the first four meets. The Stallion boys are undefeated so far this season.