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Prep swimming: Miners among several teams aiming to make a big splash this season

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11 2012 9:49 a.m. MST

William Watts, of Mountain Crest High School, competes in the 500 yard freestyle event at the 4A State Swimming Championships at BYU in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Although winter is officially here in Utah, it hasn't stopped hundreds of prep athletes from taking a dive into the pool.

For the next three months, teams will be taking to aquatic centers around the state with hopes of making a splash in the state championship meet come February.

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Bingham comes into the new season as the second-place finisher in 2012. That is, both the boys and girls teams from South Jordan placed second at state.

Some could argue that the Miners' great fortune was made possible by Skyline changing classifications. It's not a bad case by any means, but it was Bingham's best finish in years and it would be foolish to assume they've forgotten.

Andee Guy, Lindsay Westra and Diana Olsen are all returning for their senior season with Bingham, and they look forward to improving on a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Kirsten Mathewson is also back to represent the Miners after claiming a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle event.

Brighton has seen an exponential amount of success in the past decade of prep swimming, including a current run of three consecutive boys and girls team titles.

Long Gutierrez is poised for a senior season that should be filled with its share of hardware. Gutierrez had a field day at the state meet last February, earning Top 10 state records in five separate events. Two of those, the 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly, were the fastest times ever recorded in state history.

Riverton's girls team saw great success at the 2012 state meet, earning a fifth-place finish. Sophomore Abbey Sorenson claimed the top spot in the 100-yard backstroke, 50-yard freestyle and also helped the Silverwolves to first-place finishes in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays.

Alta also had a strong showing for the girls team, earning a third-place finish. Brianna Francis claimed first place in the 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard individual medley and 400-yard freestyle relay, as the Hawks' team cracked the top three. Alicia May also returns for Alta and is eyeing to improve her second-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly, which was claimed by Brighton senior Kaitlyn Overtreet.

What to expect: Brighton has a firm grip on the crown, but who's to say the Miners are unbeatable? Bingham and Alta pose the biggest threat to down the reigning champs, and with a little help from Riverton and some Utah County schools, things could get interesting.

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Skyline junior David Amirkhanashvili will be the backbone of this year's squad after claiming the top spot in the 100-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard medley relay and the 50-yard freestyle last year.

On the girls team, juniors Audrey Miller and Lillian Moore return to defend the Eagles' 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay titles. Moore brings the 200-yard IM and 100-yard butterfly titles to the pool, while Miller is looking to avenge a pair of second-place finishes in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events.

Mountain Crest has continually moved in and out of the top spot of prep swimming, and this year will be just as consistent.

Hailey Pabst will return to defend her individual titles in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles, while Anya Curtis and Ashlee Spider will be counted on to help propel the Mustangs.

For the boys, William Watts is back after a pair of second-place finishes at the state meet and also brings a 200-yard freestyle title to the table.

Shaylee Howard led Olympus to a third-place finish in 2012, with a first-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke and third place in the 100-yard freestyle event.

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