Several Grand swimmers swam to personal bests as the 2A Red Devils competed among 3A and 4A schools at the Cedar City Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14 and 15.
The Red Devil boys scored 14 points, finishing last among the eight teams at the meet, while the girls finished seventh with 91 points, finishing ahead of Emery and just one point behind sixth-place Snow Canyon.
“We swam against 3A and 4A teams, so team scores weren’t very high, but that doesn’t really matter,” Grand County High School swim coach Brian Pierce said. “It’s kind of like a track meet. It is really about individuals competing against themselves, improving their performance.
Sophomore Alexa Pierce won both of her individual races, swimming a personal best 2:08.73 in the 200-yard freestyle and racing to a slim, three-hundredths-of-a-second victory in the 100-yard freestyle, swimming a 58.05. She was also the anchor in the fourth-place 200-yard freestyle relay, which also included sophomores River Richards and Jayelen Knowles, and junior Kayla Weston. The quartet finished the race with a time of 2:00.05.
Brian Pierce said the bigger meets help prepare the swimmers for the level of competition they will face at the state championships.
“These bigger meets are like a precursor to state,” he said. “They always have very high-quality swimmers … It helps all the swimmers. They all swim faster in these conditions and really focus on their races.”
Senior Robin Willscheidt placed fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:22.18, followed by sophomore River Richards in 10th at 1:23.74.
“(Robin) didn’t PR, but it was a good race for her,” Brian Pierce said.
Richards also placed seventh at 2:41.87 in the 200-yard individual medley, while Knowles added a 10th-place finish at 7:16.80 in the 500-yard freestyle. In the 50-yard freestyle, Grand had Weston in 22nd at 31.49, junior Hannah Rice in 30th at 32.80, junior Mandy Wilkinson in 32nd at 32.99 and freshman Brooklin Hugentobler in 55th at 37.26.
For the boys, Senior Duncan Reidhead turned in ninth-place finishes in both the 50-yard freestyle (25.19) and the 100-yard freestyle (57.67).
“He swam really well,” Brian Pierce said. “Everyone ahead of his was 3A or 4A.” In the 50-yard freestyle, he was followed by senior CJ Hren in 20th place at 26.56, and in the 100-yard event, sophomore Ethan Clark finished 46th at 1:12.51.
Junior Drake Hackney cut a lot of time off of his breaststroke, Brian Pierce said, finishing 13th in the 100-yard breaststroke race at 1:20.33. Hackney finished 15th in the 200-yard individual medley at 2:46.14.
Brian Pierce said the Red Devils also had strong improvements from their newer swimmers. Among those were Clark (1:29.89) and sophomore Ben Shafer (1:40.20) finishing 27th and 31st, respectively, in the 100-yard breaststroke. Shafer also finished 26th in the 200-yard freestyle at 2:53.14, less than half a second ahead of teammate freshman Tyler Moreau in 27th at 2:53.40.
“Everyone improved,” Brian Pierce said. “The new swimmers cut tons of time. That’s what it’s really all about.”
The Red Devils were scheduled to compete in a three-team meet hosted by Emery on Tuesday, Nov. 18.
“This will be a good meet for us,” Brian Pierce said. “It will help us see where we’re at, and where need to get to as the season goes on.”
Following the Emery meet, the Red Devils are scheduled to host Carbon on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 3:30 p.m., at the Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center.
What: Grand swimming duel versus Carbon
When: Tuesday, Nov. 25, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center, 374 N. Park Ave.
Pierce wins 100, 200-yard freestyles as several Grand swimmers turn in personal bests