The Grand County High School swimming season came to an end on Thursday, Feb. 9, as the Red Devil boys placed fifth and the girls placed ninth at the UHSAA Utah State 3A Swimming Championships at the Wasatch Aquatic Center in Heber City. Grand junior Braxten Pierce won the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle events, setting a school record in each.

Pierce’s 200-yard freestyle time was 1:49.11, less than a second ahead of Summit Academy’s Johan Boer; while his 500-yard freestyle time of 5:07.40 was almost 15 seconds ahead of second place Lucas Erickson of Rowland Hall. Pierce was also part of two school-record relay teams, joining Alex Lacy, Connor Ainge and Corbin Arbon for a second-place 3:36.92 in the 400-yard freestyle relay; and joining Arbon, Ainge and Dallin Stucki for a fourth-place 1:39.12 in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

“Those four boys dropped over 16 seconds (in the 400-yard relay),” Grand swimming coach Brian Pierce said. “That’s awesome for a relay event. I think it’s the first time the boys have ever podiumed in a relay at state.”

Brian Pierce said that just about everyone had new personal bests at the state meet, which is how he hoped it would be.

“Everybody had their fastest times of the year,” he said. “That’s awesome. That’s what everyone works for is to their best in the state meet.”

For the girls, Mary Kimmerle swam to a pair of third-place finishes, finishing the 200-yard individual medley in 2:24.33 and the 500-yard freestyle in 5:43.24. She was also part of the 200-yard freestyle relay with Brooklin Hugentobler, Grace Johnston and Mona Taylor, finishing ninth at 1:56.10. In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Mary Kimmerle, Hugentobler, Taylor and Neelie Relph placed eighth at 4:30.59.

Hugentobler (29.56), Taylor (30.06) and Johnston (31.66) all swam the 50-yard freestyle event, placing 17th, 19th and 24th. Taylor (1:06.03, 18th) finished ahead of Hugentobler (1:08.59, 20th) in the 100-yard event.

For the boys, Arbon had a pair of strong finishes, placing seventh in the 100-yard freestyle at 53.52 and 11th in the 100-yard backstroke at 1:06.17. Tyler Moreau (1:06.44, 13th) and Lacy (1:06.67, 14th) finished right behind Arbon.

Stucki finished 10th in the 200-yard individual medley at 2:29.03, and 17th in the 100-yard butterfly at 1:08.79; Ainge placed 18th in the 100-yard freestyle at 57.63; and the quartet of Moreau, Cody Johnston, Lacy and Jarett Reidhead placed 10th in the 200-yard medley relay at 2:01.01.

The boys finished with 169 points, well behind champion Emery’s 242 points, but only a few points shy of a third-place finish.

“I was really impressed with the boys,” Brian Pierce said. “They swam really well and cut some huge chunks of time.”

The girls had three participants in the 100-yard backstroke as Josie Wakefield placed 15th at 1:14.61, Grace Johnston placed 20th at 1:19.73 and Corrie Kause placed 24th at 1:24.47. In the 100-yard backstroke, Kyla Jackman placed 12th at 1:27.23 and Kiersten Kimmerle placed 22nd at 1:31.35. Kiersten Kimmerle also swam in the 200-yard freestyle, placing 19th at 2:37.50. The girls scored 87 points. Rowland Hall won the girls title with 279 points.

Braxten Pierce wins pair of golds, helps set school records in relays