Grand County High School freshman Aly Bertoch swims in the 100-yard backstroke at the Red Devils’ season-opening swim meet on Friday, Nov. 2, in Moab. Bertoch took 12th in the race at 1:41.29. [Photo by Eliza Farnsworth / Moab Sun News]

The Grand County High School (GCHS) boys swim team eked out a close win in a four-team home meet to begin the season on Friday, Nov. 2, in Moab, beating Logan by just two points.

Grand senior Braxten Pierce won both of his individual events, the 200-yard freestyle at 1:54.82, and the 500-yard freestyle at 5:22.51. He, along with seniors Connor Ainge and Alex Lacy, and sophomore Pat Pakkarato, won the 200-yard freestyle relay at 1:41.63, and the 400-yard freestyle relay at 3:53.88. Lacy also won both of his solo events, taking first in the 100-yard butterfly at 1:06.50, and first in the 100-yard backstroke at 1:09.07.

Pakkarato, new to GCHS this year, also won both of his individual events, claiming the individual medley at 2:23.51, and the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:13.76. Ainge placed third in the 200-yard freestyle at 2:18.30, and sixth in the 100-yard freestyle at 59.05.

“The boys have quite a bit of depth,” said Brian Pierce, GCHS swim coach. “It will help our relays be a lot better. The top 15 teams in the state are pretty close together by times.”

Overall the boys boast 20 swimmers total, eight of whom are seniors, Pierce said. The team collectively had eight personal bests at the opening meet. Grand won the meet with 465 points, while Logan had 463, Richfield had 444 and Gunnison Valley had 195.

“The program has grown a little bit,” Pierce said. “We’ve been able to hold on to pretty much all of our swimmers, and we’ve got a good group of newcomers.”

The girls team has fewer swimmers with 11, only three of whom are seniors. They were led at the opening meet by Josie Wakefield’s second-place 100-yard backstroke (1:18.98), and fourth-place 200-yard freestyle (2:42.48) performances, as well as Kiersten Kimmerle’s third-place in the 200-yard freestyle (2:38.23), and seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:32.20). Kimmerle, Grace Johnston, Neelie Relph and Wakefield teamed up for second in the 400-yard freestyle relay (5:26.39).

Richfield won the girls division with 475 points, while Logan had 414, Grand had 254 and Gunnison Valley had 250.

“It was a good meet for the first meet of the season,” Pierce said. “The first meet is always a good gauge of where we’re at. We take a look at the meet and decide where to go from there.”

The Red Devils’ next swim meet is the Cedar City Invitational, which is scheduled to take place over two days on Friday, Nov. 9, and Saturday, Nov. 10.

Red Devils place third in girls competition

“It was a good meet for the first meet of the season.”