The Grand County High School swim team took third out of four teams in both the boys and girls divisions at a quad meet hosted by Emery in Castle Dale on Tuesday, Dec. 4, before returning to their home pool for a dual with Carbon on Saturday, Dec. 8.
In Castle Dale, senior swimmer Braxten Pierce set a new school record in the 100-yard backstroke, taking second in the event at 1:00.84. He entered the meet with a personal best of .07-seconds faster than Emery’s Keldan Guymon, but Guymon swam the event at 59.14 in his home pool.
In his other individual event, the 50-yard freestyle, Pierce placed first at 24.03, ahead of fellow seniors Corbin Arbon in second at 24.19, and Connor Ainge in fifth at 26.51.
Sophomore Pat Pakkarato won both of his individual events, taking the 200-yard individual medley at 2:22.48, and the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:11.07.
“As a whole, our meet in Emery was pretty good,” GCHS swim coach Brian Pierce said. “We try to swim there a couple times a year to get the kids ready and comfortable with the pool because Region is held there each year.”
Coach Pierce said the Red Devils set 17 new personal best individual times at the meet. Some of the personal bests include freshman Cameron Stotz, who swam the 500-yard freestyle at 7:30.33, cutting 12.36 seconds from his previous time. Sophomore Ricky Shumway dropped 6.50 seconds in the boys 200-yard freestyle event, placing 13th at 2:48.82. Another large time drop came from freshman Luke Shafer, who dropped 5.97 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke to a new personal best of 1:30.09.
The boys scored a total of 278 points. North Summit won the boys division with 347, followed by host Emery’s 294. North Sanpete took fourth with 73 points. In the girls division, Emery overwhelmed the field with 437 points, followed by North Summit’s 249. Grand placed third with 100, while North Sanpete scored 91.
For the girls team, Josie Wakefield placed second in the 100-yard backstroke at 1:19.08. She finished sixth in the 200-yard freestyle at 2:46.63, just behind teammate Kiersten Kimmerle in fifth at 2:44.32. Neelie Relph (33.89) and Grace Johnston (33.92) had a photo finish for 11th and 12th in the 50-yard freestyle.
Coach Pierce said the team worked in practice on getting a faster stroke rate on their swims, as well as their turns and walls, hoping it would help the kids drop some more time, which it did, resulting in 24 personal bests at the home dual versus Carbon.
“It’s always nice to swim at home. The kids are more relaxed and confident,” he said, “Cameron Stotz continued to have big drops in time in both (the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle events) dropping 14.62 seconds in the 200 and 15.77 in the 500. Cameron always gives a 100 percent.”
Coach Pierce said Shafer also had a good home meet, cutting more time in his 100-yard backstroke — 4.01 seconds. Senior Trayken Robertson also dropped 2.20 seconds his backstroke.
Coach Pierce said the girls had some strong performances at home as well, including Zoe Campbell, who dropped 4.74 seconds from her 100-yard breaststroke. Izzy Becerra dropped over 6 seconds in her 200-yard freestyle and almost a half-second in the 100-yard freestyle.
At the home meet, some of the team’s swimmers tried new events. Jacob Knight swam the 100-yard backstroke, Shumway swam the breaststroke and Relph swam the 500-yard freestyle, and all performed well, Pierce said
The Red Devils compete this weekend at the two-day Tooele Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14 and 15. Following that meet, they have a dual at Emery in Castle Dale on Thursday, Dec. 20.
“As a whole, our meet in Emery was pretty good.”