The storied Tooele swim program opened what they hope will be another successful season Friday with pretty lopsided wins over Provo on both the boys and girls sides.
The girls won 184-98 and the boys posted a finale score of 160-126.
And while in swimming, classification and school size don’t mean nearly as much as it does in other sports — it seems like swimming schools have been powerful for a long time — it’s still really nice to see a local 3A team beat up on a 4A team from elsewhere.
According to decorated head coach Mel Roberts, many of his athletes achieved personal best times in more than a few races, something I think is pretty incredible so early in the season.
“I was pleased with the performance of the team in their first meet,” he said. “Provo had some very good swimmers in both the girls and boys events. There were a [lot of] close exciting races and if we didn’t win the event, we finished with lifetime best times.”
That happened in the first individual boys race of the day. Junior Forrest Nichols was beaten by more than 10 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle by Provo sophomore Kaden Staker, but swam a personal best of one minute, 59.66 seconds. Nichols finished second to junior Harvey Bennett in the 500-free as well, but Bennett pulled him to another personal best of 5:23.76.
Provo freshman Sierra Weeks beat Tooele freshman Aspen Grgich in the girls 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:02.96 to Grgich’s 1:07.92 — a lifetime best in the event.
Senior Maddy Royle won the girls 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:26.95. Junior Grayson Seal won the boys 100-yard free in 53.82. Junior Allie May won the girls 500-yard free in 6:33.58 and the 100-yard back in 1:15.06. Junior Kelsey Nield won the girls 100-yard breast stroke in 1:26.34.
All of those were lifetime bests.
In all, Roberts said there were 14 of those personal records to go down. Three of the relays, he said, had very good times, especially because it’s still so early in the season.
“We have been work[ing] hard the last couple of weeks on the basic[s], and the work has shown improvement in nearly every swimmer on the team,” he said. “We are going to be challenged in every meet this year, but I liked the way the team responded to the Provo challenge.”
It’s amazing to me how well a consistent swim workout in the months preceding a competition season can change an athlete. Those workouts are designed in part to change an athlete’s body faster than his or her mind can keep up — or at least it did for me when I was in high school.
I’ve written before about how I swam for a couple years in high school, joining up late my sophomore year and ending as the slowest athlete on the junior varsity team. But when I came back the next season, I quickly moved through the ranks to the varsity-level practice lanes. It still makes me wonder if I was so slow the first year because in my mind I knew that’s where I was supposed to be and didn’t have any business practicing in the upper JV lanes, instead of trying to push through those mental limits I’d set for myself.
So when I saw the times and results of Friday’s meet against Provo, I just wondered if the races against those fast Provo kids helped the likes of Nichols and Grgich realize how their bodies are, in fact, capable of racing those faster times.
Especially when they came against a team from a larger classification.
Tavin Stucki is a sports writer from Midvale, Utah, who hasn’t found a sport he doesn’t like. At Hillcrest, he consistently competed against the largest schools in Utah and still loves to watch those bigger schools lose every now and then. Send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.