The Grand County High School boys and girls swimming teams each finished second to host Emery at the 2A South Division Championships on Thursday, Jan. 26, in Castle Dale.
On Jan. 7, coach Brian Pierce was named the Utah State and West Sectional Coach of the Year in Boys Swimming by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Pierce is also the reigning Utah 2A Coach of the Year in girls swimming. The West Sectional award includes coaches from Arizona, California, Nevada and Hawaii.
On Thursday, despite taking first place in seven of 11 events, the Red Devil girls couldn’t overcome Emery’s numbers advantage, finishing second with 295 points, while Emery boasted 350. The Lady Spartans only had one event victory, which came in the 400-yard freestyle relay, but had either second or third place, sometimes both, in several events.
Grand’s quartet of seniors Alexa Pierce and River Richards and sophomores London Richards and Mary Kimmerle paddled the Lady Red Devils to first place in the other two relay events, winning the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:59.87 and the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:48.52.
Pierce and both Richards sisters also placed first in at least one individual event. Pierce won the 200-yard individual medley at 2:22.66 and the 500-yard freestyle at 5:44.07; London Richards won the 100-yard butterfly at 1:11.19 and the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:16.22; and River Richards won the 200-yard freestyle at 2:13.81, while also placing second in 100-yard freestyle at 1:01.44.
Kimmerle stood on the podium in both of her individual events as well, placing second in the 100-yard backstroke at 1:01.57 and third in the 50-yard freestyle at 26.51, less than a quarter-second behind first-place Drew Roper of Millard, who swam a 26.27, and Savannah Weber of Gunnison Valley in second at 26.28. Roper also won the backstroke, by a much healthier margin at 1:04.45. Weber was third behind Kimmerle at 1:09.00.
Senior Jayelen Knowles also swam well, placing third in the 500-yard freestyle at 6:53.53 and fourth in the 200-yard freestyle at 2:31.96. Brooklin Hugentobler placed fourth in the 100-yard freestyle at 1:06.02.
In the boys competition, The Spartans scored 333 points, besting Grand by more than 100 points. Braxten Pierce brought home gold in both the 200-yard individual medley (2:12.39) and the 500-yard freestyle (5:19.37). Joining him with podium finishes were Alex Lacy in the 100-yard butterfly (second place, 1:07.72), Sidney Shumway in the 100-yard butterfly (third place, 1:09.17) and Jonathan Park in the 100-yard freestyle (third place, 59.28). Park also finished fifth in the 50-yard freestyle at 26.22. Connor Ainge placed fifth in the 200-yard freestyle at 2:15.41 and Tyler Moreau placed fifth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:10.50).
In relay competiton, Grand finished second in the 200-yard freestyle relay at 1:44.95 and third in the 400-yard freestyle relay at 3:56.99.
The swimming season culminates with the UHSAA Utah State Swimming Championships, which are scheduled to take place on Thursday, Feb. 9, at Brigham Young University in Provo.
NFHS names Brian Pierce west sectional boys swimming coach of the year
Alexa Pierce: 200-yard individual medley (2:22.66)
500-yard freestyle (5:44.07)
London Richards: 100-yard butterfly (1:11.19)
100-yard breaststroke (1:16.22)
River Richards: 200-yard freestyle (2:13.81)
Braxten Pierce: 200-yard individual medley (2:12.39)
500-yard freestyle (5:19.37)