Tooele High swim teams are winners.
Since swimming began at Tooele High School in 1955, the boys have won 684 dual meets and lost 106. The girls began in 1972 and their record is 423-94.
So it was no surprise that the Men Buffaloes and the Lady Buffaloes both defeated Grantsville Thursday afternoon. Grantsville has had a swim program for only eight years — an no pool in Grantsville.
But the Cowboys were not totally dunked under at Thursday’s meet.
“I think this is probably the closest our boys have ever come in a meet against Tooele,” said Grantsville coach Chism Nash.
Tooele boys racked up 173 points while Grantsville scored 101. However, the Tooele girls were more dominate in their meeting with a 213-60 triumph.
“A lot of credit should go to coach Nash for the job he is doing at Grantsville,” said Tooele coach Mel Roberts. “They have a lot of swimmers and they are starting to develop a very good team, especially the boys.
One GHS swimmer who made a big splash on Thursday was Tanner Higley with four first-place finishes.
Higley finished first in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:16.75, and first in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:06.24. He also swam on two victorious Grantsville relay teams. Spencer Lawrence, Nathan Beckett, Todd Ritchey and Higley teamed up to win the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:55.0.
Higley, Chris Kelley, Lawrence and Ritchey also won the 200-yard free relay with a time of 1:44.26. The race was close, however. Tooele’s Wylie Dalton, Kayce McKendrick, Tim Nowotny and Andrew Merkley touched less than one-half second behind the Grantsville team with a time of 1:44.70.
“I was very pleased with the way things went today,” Higley said. “I dropped three seconds off my 200 IM time. It’s a tough goal, but I would like to break 1 minute in the breaststroke.”
Tooele coach Roberts had high praise for Higley and the GHS boys team. “The Grantsville boys are much improved over last year and gave us a very good meet. They will certainly be a factor at the region championships,” Roberts said. “We were challenged in every event today.”
Tooele sprinters Andrew Merkley and Wylie Dalton were superb with first- and second-place finishes in the 50 freestyle, respectively. Jack McEachern won two events. Nowotny and Wyatt Rapich captured the other two first-place finishes for the THS men.
The Tooele girls were able to win nine of 11 events. Grantsville’s Alice Vinciguerra, a foreign-exchange student from Italy, was impressive with victories in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly. Tooele’s Maddie Nichols, Brook Baker and Kelly Clonts also won two individual events each and were on two winning relay teams.
“I thought the girls swam well, but we will have to do much better on Tuesday when East comes to Tooele. Several of our veteran swimmers are stepping up and helping fill the void created by the swimmers who graduated last year,” Roberts said.
Nichols won the girls 200 freestyle in 2:16.88. Tooele’s Nowotny won the boys 200 freestyle in 2:11.81. Vinciguerra’s time in the girls 200 IM was 2:28.19. Tooele’s Baker won the 50-yard girls freestyle in 29.30. Tooele’s Dalton (25.73) just edged Merkley (25.29) in the boys 50-yard free with Lawrence of Grantsville coming in third at 26.52.
Viciguerra won the girls 100 butterfly in 1:06.28.
Tooele’s McEachern touched first in the boys 100 butterfly at 1:02.04, and GHS’s Beckett finished second at 1:04.96. Tooele’s Clonts won the girls 100 freestyle in 1:05.49 with Grantsville’s Amanda Soltes second at 1:12.48.
In a tight boys 100-yard freestyle race, a trio finished under 58 seconds. Tooele’s Merkley touched at 56.62 for first place with teammate Dalton second at 57.49 and Ritchey of Grantsville third at 57.55.
Tooele’s Nichols won the girls 500 freestyle in 6:02.86, and McEachern won the same event for the boys at 5:52.50.
Madison Royle, Nichols, Baker and Clonts won the girls 200 yard free relay for Tooele with a time of 1:58.61.
Tooele’s Baker won the girls 100-yard backstroke in 1:11.69, and teammate Rapich won the same event for the boys in 1:07.62.
Tooele’s girls piled up points in the 100-yard backstroke with the first five finishes led by 14-year-old Madison in first with a time of 1:20.44. Paul Blackhurst of Grantsville finished second in the 100-yard breaststroke behind Higley with a time of 1:19.48 and Tooele’s Jacob Leatham placed third at 1:20.88.
Tooele swept the boys and girls 400 freestyle relays. Clonts, Aumanae Hitesman, Hardy and Nichols won for the girls in 4:28.07. Peter Imlay, Nowotny, McEachern and Dalton won for the boys in 3:54.84.
Tooele hosts East on Tuesday. Grantsville’s next meet is on Thursday, Dec. 5 against Stansbury.