ST. GEORGE — The high school swim season took off from the blocks this past weekend, as hundreds of swimmers from around the state took part in the annual Greg Fernley Invitational Friday and Saturday at the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center.
Lone Peak High School, a 6A school in Highland, was the overall winner in both the boys and girls categories. The Lone Peak boys accumulated 342 points, while second-place Brighton had 324 and third-place Desert Hills had 270.
In the girls races, the Lady Knights of Lone Peak finished with 355.5 points, while runner-up Brighton had 343 and third-place American Fork had 321. Desert Hills was again the top-scoring Southern Utah school, placing fourth overall with 312.5 points.
“We are always grateful to have the Fernley meet first on our schedule,” said Desert Hills head coach Shawn King. “It gives us a very clear perspective on what our region and division look like for the coming season, and it gives our new talent an opportunity to see how they can help their team. It is a critical part of our season every year.”
Desert Hills, the defending state 4A champions in both the boys and girls, lost several of their top swimmers to graduation earlier this year, King noted.
Even so, the Thunder still won four of the six relay races staged at the meet and placed second in the other two. The DHHS girls were edged by American Fork in the 200 free relay, while the Thunder boys placed second to Lone Peak in the 400 free relay.
All eight Region 9 schools participated in the meet, including the new Crimson Cliffs High School, for which King also serves as the head coach, in addition to Pine View’s small team.
The Sand Hollow Aquatic Center was abuzz with activity throughout the two-day event, which attracted swimmers from 19 Utah high schools along with a sizable crowd of spectators, including family members of the athletes.
Snow Canyon High, located right across the street from the venue, served as the meet’s cohost, along with Dixie High. Snow Canyon’s teams also did well at the meet, with the Warrior boys placing fourth overall and the Lady Warriors taking fifth.
Desert Hills started off strong Friday afternoon by winning both the girls and boys 200-yard medley relays.
In the girls race, DHHS junior Caitlin Romprey led off with a strong backstroke leg, after which sophomore Lucy Andelin and junior Kela Hansen swam the breaststroke and butterfly portions. Anchoring the relay was freshman Emma Brown, who swam the last 50 yards freestyle in a time of 25.27 seconds, giving the Lady Thunder first place with an overall time of 1:55.11.
Coach King said he was encouraged by Brown’s strong performance, noting that she took part in all three relay races and also placed sixth overall in the 100 free with a time of 58.03 seconds.
“Emma Brown swimming 58 (seconds) in the 100 free and contributing to all three relays is a needed boost to our girls team after graduating eight seniors last year,” King said.
Another DHHS freshman who made an impact at the meet was Kade Bethers, who joined upperclassmen Payton Plumb, Hyatt Iverson and Ashton Anderson in placing first in the boys 200 medley relay. Individually, Bethers also placed tenth overall in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 58.66.
King said he was also pleased by the solid times recorded by returning swimmers.
“Most of our swimmers are starting the season faster than we ended the season last year, and that is great,” he said.
Plumb, a senior, won the 100 free in a time of 47.16 seconds, beating out approximately 140 other swimmers in that event. Fellow DHHS senior Anderson placed second among more than 200 athletes in the 50 free with a time of 22.27.
The event with the most entrants was the girls 50 free, which saw more than 250 swimmers compete.
To view the entire results of the meet as a PDF file, click here.
The next scheduled local meet is the Cedar Invitational in Cedar City this coming Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9.
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